In God’s goodness, our church building is often bulging at the seams, so we are seeking to extend the current premises to allow the current work and outreach to continue to grow. Thank you for your interest and support for the work of the gospel at Shepherd Drive.
Since Shepherd Drive Baptist Church (SDBC) was re-planted in 2007, the church and its activities have grown significantly. The Sunday congregation now averages around 100 people, including 20-30 children, our Messy Church events attract over 100 parents and children, and our ladies’ outreach evenings often have up to 100 present. At times, our parent & toddler group and the clubs for children and young people have had waiting lists as we have not been able to safely accommodate the numbers wishing to attend. In addition, our two Christmas outreach services both attract numbers of 160-220.
Yet besides the main hall (which can comfortably seat about 150) we have only one classroom as a meeting space (with space for about 20 children). We are both grateful and humbled by these signs of God’s blessing on the work, and our desire is to extend the building to better enable us to make use of the opportunities we have been given for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
What became SDBC began on the Chantry estate, Ipswich, in 1973 with a Sunday School, supported by what is now Cauldwell Hall Road Baptist Church (CHRBC) with a view to planting a new church on the estate. In 1995 a modern church building was built and opened on land leased from Ipswich Borough Council.
Initially, the church grew and became an independent fellowship. However, after the retirement of the minister originally appointed to lead the work, the fellowship went through a difficult time and numbers reduced significantly. CHRBC assumed responsibility for the church once more when the congregation shrank to 7 members and began to prayerfully seek a team to re-plant the church. In September 2007, Simon and Christine Robinson were appointed as evangelists to work for the church and were joined by 2 members from CHRBC. At that time, the Sunday morning congregation was about 15 adults and children (including the new team assembled).
Developments in recent years:
The work was re-started with a programme of evangelism and outreach, and by God’s grace, the Sunday congregation began to grow, people came to faith and membership of the fellowship increased. In 2012 Peter Newton was appointed in a part-time role as co-pastor.
The congregation and those attending church events continued to grow and in 2017 the church appointed an architect to prepare plans to enlarge the building. Ipswich Borough Council gave their approval in principle in late 2019, allowing the application for planning permission to go ahead.
The church maintains a high profile in the local community through its activities and outreach supported by its website (www.sdbc.org.uk) and its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ShepherdDrive). The fellowship enjoys good links with local schools and the local Sue Ryder Home, and runs a range of contact groups for people in the area. These include a craft group, a senior citizens’ club, a ramblers’ group, children’s and youth groups, and men’s and women’s events. Almost 90% of those attending church events live within 4 miles of the church, with 30% living within 1 mile.
The building project:
The scheme will have a phased approach. Latest costings provided by our quantity surveyor are shown below (and also include professional fees).
Phase 1 (cost estimated at approx. £440K)
- build a church hall to be used for community outreach, expand our work among senior citizens and increase capacity for our parent & toddler group and community youth clubs
- increase and move storage space which will release 25-30 new seating spaces in our main meeting area to use for services
- move to a more economical and environmental heating solution
Phase 2 & 3 (cost estimated at approx. £895k)
- build an extra floor over the current entrance area to provide further office space and meeting rooms
- create a coffee shop which we hope will become a social centre for the community and provide us with further opportunities to share the gospel
- re-structure the internal layout of the building to support this new design, moving the kitchen to a more central position (to enhance our ability to provide meals we lay on during events) and construct a larger and more welcoming entrance
- create an external fenced garden for use by children
During late 2019 Ipswich Borough Council gave its permission for us to submit a planning application to Babergh District Council. Planning approval was granted during early September 2020.
Fundraising continues and our funds will be assessed in January 2021. At that stage we hope to have sufficient funds to invite tenders to build Phase 1.
Financial position (October 2020) :
Building Fund £124,000
SDBC Future Ministries Fund £25,000
Grants already secured £121,000
Interest Free Loan available £50,000
Grants & gifts required to complete Phase 1 £120,000