We are praising our heavenly Father that our bid for the old school building (the Irving Building) on Hertford Street has been accepted and we have completed the sale.
We have been having our main meeting at the school’s other site since 2005 because we had outgrown our small chapel on Magdalen Road, and we’re delighted to finally be closer to moving to a new space in the heart of East Oxford. We have been seeking to love and serve our community for over 130 years and our vision to share the love of Jesus with the diverse people groups of East Oxford continues. ‘Community benefit’ was a significant part of the conditions of sale as our neighbours (and trustees of the building), the PCC of St Mary and St John Church, were keen that the building might continue to serve our community. So we are thrilled, that with our local community central to our bid in the open and robust bidding process, to have secured the building and its service to the community for the future.
Our church is our people, and not bricks and mortar. But this new space and the facilities that we hope to be able to create within it, will enable us, under God, to continue to grow in our service to one another and the local community.
However, there’s still a long way to go! Considerable work needs to be done to the building to get it ready to be our new meeting place and a hub for the community. We’ll be sharing more soon about our development plans and ways for people to get involved in prayer, giving and contributing to this work.
In the meantime, if you’d be interested in giving to our ongoing building fund, please email Pat at email@example.com
East Oxford’s needs ...
Magdalen Road Church and her members have been serving their neighbours in East Oxford for over 130 years. We serve our community because we believe that God calls us to show his love in our words and in our actions.
The nature of the help offered by Magdalen Road Church may have changed somewhat over the years*, from previous expressions like a soup kitchen and distribution of coal and other items to those in need, to today’s groups for parents and children, a venue for work with asylum seekers, and a warm welcome for international students, but life in East Oxford is still hard for many. * see ‘Our Roots in East Oxford
With some ideas about how we could serve the community of East Oxford, we undertook a survey last summer to hear from the wider community about how they perceive their needs, so that as we look to the future, we can plan programmes and activities to best meet those needs. We have had more than 130 responses from people who live or work in the area representing a good range of age groups and ethnic and religious backgrounds. The results of this research has been written up and is contained in the report which is available on our website via this link.
These results show that the premises we currently have is not enough to do all that we could do to serve our community as God calls us to do. The Irving Building would open up many opportunities for us to respond to the needs identified in the survey, to develop current activities and to partner with community organisations. As our fundraising efforts continue, we are talking to a number of organisations about how we might potentially work together for the benefit of East Oxford using the Irving Building as our base.
Acquiring the Irving Building
We have been working very hard on developing a coherent business plan for the use of the Irving Building and the associated fundraising for its purchase and development. Input from the Survey has been invaluable and we have had plenty of ideas as to how we could use the building or develop ways to raise capital and revenue funding to ensure it can be used sustainably in the long term. We are having to balance the ideal use position and commercial reality in the planning process. This means not all ideal uses may be possible which we are sure you appreciate.
At a meeting at the end of June 2015 the Church Members decided to make a bid to purchase the Irving Building without taking out any long-term loans. The church voted in favour of us pressing on with fundraising and preparing to make a bid with what funds were available to us by the time we needed to submit an offer.
Over the summer we have been privileged to have many conversations with the new vicar of SS Mary & John Church, Fr Phil Ritchie, and we have discovered that we share a similar desire to serve the community using the Irving Building.
We were informed by the PCC of St Mary and St John, who are the selling trustees, that an offer has been accepted from a developer. However, in Spring 2016, despite being given the opportunity to match the developer's bid, we heard that the process had been put on hold and the PCC were appointing new advisors.
We aim to publish regular updates. If you would like to keep up-to-date with developments you can:
Visit the Archive of updates
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Leaders at Magdalen Road Church