In recent years St Francis has seen much growth and renewal. Whilst it had a history as a family church, the congregation recognised their widespread advancing age, and so in 2001 set a brief for their new Vicar to bring in young families and young people. The 10.00am ‘hymns and robed choir’ worship moved to 9.30am to allow the planting of a new congregation meeting at 11.00am with contemporary music and a ‘New Wine’ style. We started with a handful of people and this grew slowly over the next few years.
In the years that have followed work amongst families, children, youth and 20s and 30s has grown and we have appointed staff to encourage and develop these areas.
In 2011 the Rev Tessa Mann joined us to work three days a week, on an self supporting basis, to lead our sister church St Lawrence, Stratford and the Rev Penny Joyce, a self supporting pioneer minister, to work on a new housing estate (Old Sarum) on the edge of our parish. Both areas of our work are thriving under their respective leadership.
In 2013 our large church hall was remodelled with the aim of reconfiguring our whole site and ministry to be a ‘Community Hub’ for this side of Salisbury. The Hall has been completely remodelled to provide a church sponsored preschool for the community with large play room, toilets, kitchen and offices. Also in the building is a small hall, and a new, large and well equipped, youth lounge with kitchen and counselling room. In 2014 we will complete an adjoining, walled, basketball and sports court.
An extension to the main church building with large glazed windows and entrance has been opened, in order to accommodate growth on Sundays. This has opened up the rather austere blank side elevation of the church, and provided social space, coffee area etc. for use all week.