Swindon Family Church, which began almost 16 years ago with just a handful of people meeting in a hired room in the Link Centre, is changing its name to – Gateway Church Swindon. Church leader Mark Thornett explains.
The new name for the church, which moved into its own premises in Westlea two years ago and now regularly has over 200 people attending, is to reflect what they believe God has said to them about the vision and direction of the church.
A gateway is a place of transition, of discovery and hope. It is often a meeting place, a sending place, as well as a receiving place, and of course Jesus Christ described himself as The Gate.
The new name was made official on 21 September, when the church held a celebration service which was followed by a hog roast and desserts from around the world.
Increasingly a wonderful variety of people are coming to us from all sorts of different places. We already have South Africans, Germans, French, Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Indians and Chinese as well as people from the Caribbean in our congregation, and in time we hope there will be others.
With the name Swindon Family Church, we have once or twice been asked if the church is just for families, or if anyone can come. A gateway can be used by anyone, and we want to display God’s passion for all people by giving as good a welcome as we can to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.
In its 16 year history the church has also been involved in sending and supporting individuals and teams to such places as East Africa, Southern Africa and South America, as well as other parts of the world.
Most recently a member of the congregation has been spending extended periods of time in Zimbabwe, helping to develop health, education and farming projects among some of the most economically challenged and marginalised people in the world.
On its own, a change of name doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. But we are really excited about the future. If we follow what God tells us, we believe we will continue to grow both as individuals and as a community of people. Together we will form a gateway of discovery and hope, where people are welcomed, mobilized and sent out.
Details on the church’s activities can be found at: www.gatewaychurchswindon.org.uk or call the Church Office on 526130.