Heath church development
One2two is the name of the complex built at 122, Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, which is next door to Heath Evangelical Church and now attached by an atrium-like feature.
The complex houses a Christian bookshop, a coffee shop, with seating also in ‘the link’, and a patio outside. Upstairs, there is a lounge for meetings of up to 30 people and a church office.
The church’s vision for One2two grew after an approach, in 2006, by the baker next door, who said he was selling up and was offering the church first refusal. This was seen as the Lord’s providential leading.
We saw the attractions of moving our current book shop and tea room out of rented, somewhat dated, premises on the opposite side of the busy shopping street, some 50 yards away. But our desire was that the significant financial outlay involved should realise more than just upgraded facilities. We wanted to make a significant impact for Christ within the local community.
The building project was completed early in 2011. God willing, it will be fully paid for by the end of the year, thanks to a totally unexpected legacy wiping out the residual debt.
Looking back over several months of operation, there have been some encouraging developments. Takings at the coffee shop are three times that of the old tea room, despite plenty of local competition.
Workers from a central government office, parents from the Welsh school opposite, even traffic wardens, members of the church and other local churches are among regular customers.
Lunch times can be a challenge to Maddy, the manager, and her posse of volunteers. Book shop manager Robin records increased sales also, though fairly modest by comparison.
The link area has wifi. And a leaflet drop to local houses before students return in the autumn will hopefully coax some to regard it as a pleasant place to read, chat or study.
The lounge has been well used for international student Bible studies, English language studies and meetings for local Christians. It has proved an attractive venue for evangelistic events and makes an excellent conduit to the church hall beyond.
There are plans to open the link in the evening for parents whose children are in clubs at the church and for children’s Bible readings.
So is it a bridge to the local community? Its juxtaposition has made it more obvious that the local church is not just a building open for Sunday services, but a community of Christians open 24/7.
We have had more contact with people in the area, but we long to share Christ with them and see more coming under the sound of the gospel. We have made a start but we need sanctified imagination to use this facility well. We pray our triune God will glorify himself through many being saved.