Making a name for Wrexham
In a huge urban area of North Wales, there’s more than just football impacting the people of Wrexham. Read on to see what the Church is doing for the local community.
A new start for Wrexham
Wrexham has seen some big changes in the last few years. With actor Ryan Reynolds recently taking ownership of Wrexham AFC, the North Wales town has quickly gained national and international attention.
But making meaningful changes to communities takes more than just money and exposure. The real change happens on the ground. Hope Street Church in Wrexham has brought a lot to this post-industrial community. Once a bustling town of steelworks and mining industries, Wrexham has seen its community adapt to a changing Britain. Unfortunately, one of those changes is a shrinking Christian population.
“I think the stat is about 97% of people don’t go to church. And that’s even higher with the younger generations.” – Rachel Kitchen
Telling a new story
The Kitchens wanted to create an environment of fun and joy, laughter and community – but with Jesus at the centre of it all. At the invitation of Bishop Gregory of Asaph, Rachel and Andy Kitchen opened Hope Street Church in 2020. Since then, Wrexham has fast seen spiritual renewal, surely thanks to the practical help being offered at Hope Street. The community is experiencing the loving nature of Jesus through the offer of a warm space every Monday, battling the rising cost of living and increasing energy bills that have swallowed the winter months. And as they offer more family and relationship services like the Marriage Course, people around Wrexham are coming away from Hope Street with a sense of understanding of what it means to follow Christ – as well as a nice, hot coffee from the Tabernacl Café downstairs.
“There might’ve been a bit of a ceiling on expectation and ambition in Wrexham, but we’re beginning to see a different story being told.” – Andy Kitchen
Open to all
From a Burton Menswear shop came a vacant building. Rachel and Andy wanted to use this well-known location to create an open community space that would be visible as people walk past and be exposed to the heavy footfall that would usually benefit a shopfront on the high street.
The renovated shopfront has a huge window that opens the space up to the street and pours the light of the Lord out into the community. Those passing by have a view of the Tabernacl Café, drawn in by the warm atmosphere and often curious about the vibrant building that’s alive with the Holy Spirit as worship services echo from the floors above.
The draw of the building has attracted people from near and far, including and El Salvadorian family who fled their home when they received death threats if their son didn’t join a gang. Now far away from the culture of drugs and violence, the family have been welcomed in by a local family and are involved in Hope Street Youth and Hope Street Kids.
“They’ve been such a key part of the community at Hope Street. They have a deep faith and are so joyful, despite the challenges they’ve been through.” – Rachel Kitchen
With all this, Hope Street is seeing the impact of the Holy Spirit over Wrexham. With a growing congregation of 250 adults, they’ve also welcomed a huge 80 children and young people. This means 1 in 4 of their congregation is a youth being exposed to Christ! It looks like that 97% stat might soon be out of date! Have a look at what Rachel and Andy had to say about their journey to Wrexham below.