Story

Church
St Francis has always had a pioneering heart. It began in 1930 when North Salisbury was developed with new housing. The congregation first gathered in a second hand army hut and worshiped there for ten years before building the church we have today. The congregation could have looked back and built something ‘churchy’ but chose instead a cutting edge design looking to the future. It is a fantastic open, light, building ideal for modern worship. See this YouTube video for more on the history of St Francis church being built.

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.

The church building was very dilapidated so in 2006 after some years of preparation we moved out of the church for six months to carry out a £450,000 refurbishment. Although not a wealthy congregation this was funded by congregational giving and greatly built our faith! A further 10% (£45,000) was raised and given away to build the first phase of a Christian Secondary School in Juba, South Sudan. (This is now a much larger project with 500 students attending the school and achieving the second highest exam results in the whole of South Sudan in 2013. We host the UK support group for the school and this consisting of experts and supporters from the wide range of churches as well as members from St Francis. Read more here.

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.