Starting the Journey
The Vision :
Manchester City Centre is changing. There are approximately 20,000 people living in the city centre boundaries – the majority of these are young working professionals, who live work and party in the city centre. As well as this an estimated 100,000 use the city for business, socialising and shopping everyday. It is a dynamic European city centre. What does Church look like for these people?
A new expression of network Church based in Manchester City Centre.
We are committed to a journey of exploration into worship, evangelism, friendship and Christian living. It is hoped that the Christian community that emerges will challenge both the culture and the church
A welcoming Christian community who believe that God is not defined by theology. We welcome dialogue between different theological positions but also recognise that dialogue involves listening and real listening involves change.
Believing that God is already in the world and working in the world. We recognise God’s indefinable presence in music, film, arts and other key areas of contemporary culture. We wish to affirm and enjoy the parts of our culture that give a voice to God whilst challenging any areas that deafen the call of God and hence constrain human freedom.
Experience is vital and experience defines us. We aim to provide an environment is which people can experience ‘the other’. In which the vastness of God can be wondered at whilst reflecting on the paradox of the human who was God, Jesus.
We believe in holistic faith. Our worship should reflect and involve this holism and allow freedom to explore new ways in which to wonder at God. We draw from the vast resource of the Christian spiritual journey and are not afraid to look into the past to find a way into the future.
We are a dynamic group exploring the journey together; we are not the finished article but are sincere in our search. Our journey is one of exploration but fortunately it is a journey in which we have a guide that lights our path and walks beside us in times of blessing and of trouble.
In the summer of 2001 Ben Edson of the Church Army was appointed to Manchester City Centre as the City Centre Missioner. His particular focus was to explore appropriate models of church for the new city centre community. Ben had spent a number of years involved with ‘ the-mass’ in Nottingham and had a particular interest in post-modern models of church.
Ben quickly met three people who had not found a church of which they had wanted to be part. They were people who were keen to re-imagine church and establish a new form of church within the city centre.
They agree to meet every Wednesday night and to explore issues of faith, culture and community. The group decides on the name ‘Sanctus 1’, begins to produce publicity and in January 2002 hold their first public act of worship at Manchester Cathedral, 20 people attend.
The core community continues to meet every Wednesday and doubles in size. They hold a number of other services and gradually raise the profile of ‘Sanctus 1’ within the City centre, the diocese and nationally. This core is the backbone of the church and continues to meet today. There are currently about 25 people who are part of the core community and therefore part of Sanctus 1.
The group has a service once a month in either Sacred Trinity, Salford or in Manchester Cathedral. They are ambient reflective services that build on ritual and symbolism aiming to provide a sacred space in the midst of a busy city.
Ben Edson is Church Army City Centre Missioner for Manchester. He is a founder member of ‘sanctus 1’