For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8


About Us

Christchurch, Abbeydale is a church which is unique in Gloucestershire, a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP) with a single congregation founded by four denominations: Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist.  Christchurch exists within a Church of England conventional district within the Gloucester City Deanery and Gloucester Diocese, a Methodist church within the Gloucestershire Circuit and Bristol District, a United Reformed church within the Gloucestershire Area of the West Midlands Synod and a Baptist church within the West of England Baptist Association. 

The conventional district is an Anglican area created from parts of the two parishes in which Christchurch is situated.  We therefore undertake work across the entire neighbourhood, including a responsibility towards those who are members of no church. 

Abbeydale and Abbeymead are suburban residential areas three miles to the east of the City of Gloucester.  Our church is situated on a prominent site opposite a Morrison’s supermarket at the centre of these two large areas of housing.  Other services close to the church include various small shops, a public house, community centre, a medical centre, a vet, a private dentist and optician.  There are two primary schools close to the church.  To the rear of the church is a small diocesan housing complex known as Anne Edwards Mews. 

Building began in Abbeydale forty years ago with mainly private housing, but neighbouring Abbeymead is more recent.  There is a mixture of housing catering for families, couples, singles and purpose-built units of sheltered accommodation.  The area is predominantly owner-occupied.  When compared with the rest of the City of Gloucester, the proportion of ethnic minorities is relatively low.  There is a good age mix.  The total population of Abbeydale and Abbeymead is about 12,000.   Abbeydale and Abbeymead are pleasant areas in which to live; many people have lived in their homes since they were first built.

 As well as being an LEP, Christchurch is part of a wider Anglican-Methodist-URC-Baptist Covenanted Partnership, working mostly with three Anglican churches, St. Lawrence at Barnwood, St. Oswald at Coney Hill and St. Leonard at Upton St Leonards.  There are occasional times of active co-operation, for example with Lent study groups, evening services during the Lent and August.  Within the immediate area there is also a Baptist church, a Roman Catholic church and two Evangelical Free Church plants, one of which is known as Abbey Church and with which relationships have grown over the last few years.

The location of Christchurch presents a number of advantages; we occupy a central position and have a large mission field literally on our doorstep.  The four-denomination make-up of our church presents a unique opportunity for a minister seeking to broaden his or her ecumenical experience.  There will be good support for the minister both from within the membership of Christchurch and from the wider community.


The Building

Christchurch is relatively modern.  It was built as a single project in 1995 and has been well maintained under the direction of the property stewards.  There are no structural problems with the building.  Routine maintenance and decoration are undertaken by volunteers from the church membership during an annual work week in August.  The Quinquennial Review undertaken in 2016 raised no major issues. 

The flexible multipurpose worship area comfortably seats 185 and is equipped with a sunken baptistry, font, altar-table, computer, three LED audio-visual screens and a sound system with a loop for the hard of hearing.  The overall effect is light and airy.  Also within the church building are modern toilet facilities (including for the disabled) and a fully equipped kitchen. There is in addition a small room known as ‘Shalom’, which is set aside for quiet prayer, an office and a reasonably-sized meeting room, which can be subdivided by a partition. There is never enough storage, but we make extensive use of two loft spaces. The church car park has space for about 40 vehicles. 

A modern minister’s house, usually known as the Manse, stands next to the Church.  Built in 1992, it is a detached family home with a large lounge, kitchen, dining room, study, four bedrooms, a very wide garage and a well maintained garden.  Schools, doctors and all local amenities are within easy reach. 

The facilities for living and working at Christchurch are attractive, modern and efficient. 
At the East end of the Church there is an area of Remembrance that has been authorised by the Diocese of Gloucester (the owners of the land on which the church is built) and approved by the other denominations for the interring of ashes of church members or those of any, or no, denomination requesting this and previously approved by the minister and/or Church Council..



We aspire to make our services warm and friendly, varied and accessible, but at the same time dignified and meaningful.  We are keen on congregational participation and regularly include children, who have an important and valued contribution to make.  We are good at offering welcome and hospitality.   Theologically, the church aims to be broad and inclusive and recognises the value of the Lectionary in the life and worship of the church.

Morning services during the vacancy will be led by a variety of ministers and lay preachers from each of our four denominations.  The form and style of worship is the choice of the individual preacher.  The result is a rich diversity, which the congregation enjoy.  Our average morning attendance during the year 2017 was 79.  At present, Holy Communion is celebrated once a month on Sundays (and always at major festivals), and weekly on a Wednesday evening which attracts between 8 and 10 communicants.  Non-alcoholic communion wine is offered by both chalice and individual glasses.  Members of the Church Council or others approved by Church Council assist with the distribution.  

As we are a diverse congregation with differing traditions who wish to share worship together as a single church, we have learned to accommodate each other in order to develop a deeper understanding of our common faith.  Praise, prayer, Bible study and challenging teaching are important to us.

 Jubilate at Lydney (2).JPG

We have a regular organist, two assistant organists and a talented piano/keyboard player as well as Jubilate, a music group of around ten members, including instrumentalists and singers. Books available are ‘Hymns and Psalms’ and the combined version of ‘Mission Praise’, but we hold a Church Copyright Licence and a Music Reproduction Licence so that more music is available to us.  The words of hymns and the liturgy, including congregational responses, are projected onto AV screens.  There is active lay involvement in worship and this includes stewarding, the reading of lessons and often the leading of intercessions. 

Sunday evening services are held fortnightly at 6 p.m.  One, which attracts a small but dedicated group, takes the form of a Bible Study.  More popular in terms of numbers is the monthly Café Church, at which refreshments and informal worship are offered. 

Special services held annually include: the Methodist Covenant Service; Wednesday in Holy Week, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services; Harvest Festival; Remembrance Sunday and the Christingle and Carol Services. 

Whilst Christchurch’s minister leads worship at most of the services, clergy and preachers from the other three dominations of the LEP are invited on a regular basis in order to maintain the diversity of our traditions.  This gives our minister the opportunity to conduct services in other churches of our partner denominations. 

Within our own congregation there are four reasonably active retired ministers (from Anglican, Methodist, Baptist and URC traditions), an Anglican Reader, lay preacher and a Methodist Worship Leader.  

Church members appreciate the variety we currently have in our worship, including the balance of traditional and more modern forms.  Our style of worship is lively and enthusiastic in an ecumenical setting.  At the same time, we are open to new ideas and fresh expressions, provided they are introduced sensitively.


The congregation has its own minister who is appointed from each of the four denominations in turn. Worship is led mainly by that minister, but visiting ministers/preachers from the other three denominations are invited on a regular basis.

Aim and purpose
Christchurch Abbeydale Church Council (CC) has the responsibility of cooperating with the incumbent minister in promoting the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical, in our geographical area (a Conventional District to use the Church of England term). The CC is also specifically responsible for the maintenance of the Church building.  During the Interregnum, Church Council has operated in an effective and harmonious way to take the Church forward. 
The new members who have joined Council have added their strength and wisdom to support us all as we seek to find a new minister and develop our church life together.
The ecumenical nature of the church, a key foundation stone since its inception, is reflected in the contact with other churches, and as different ministers are welcomed to our church to lead worship.
We are blessed with an excellent team of “retired” ministers representing each of the participating denominations of Christchurch who play an active role in delivering services, bible study and celebrating Holy Communion, especially during an Interregnum.

Objectives and Activities

The CC is committed to enabling as many people as possible to worship at Christchurch and so become part of our faith community. The CC maintains an overview of worship and makes suggestions on how our services can involve groups connected with our church. Our services and worship put faith into practice through prayer and scripture, music and sacrament. When planning our activities for the year, the incumbent and the CC try to help ordinary people live out their faith as part of our Church community through:

·       Worship and prayer; learning about the Gospel, developing their knowledge and trust in Jesus and supporting each other as part of the family of God.

·       Welcoming newcomers to the church whether as visitors or as in due course, as potential members.

·       Providing pastoral care for people associated with the Church and/or living locally.

·       Developing connections into our local community particularly the local schools

·       Providing baptismal, wedding and funeral services to our community as required.

During the Interregnum, our Worship Planning Group have undertaken the planning processes associated with our services.To facilitate the work of our church we maintain the fabric of the church building, the associated rooms and the area outside the church in good condition.  Minor works identified by the Quinquennial Review carried out by the Architect appointed by the United Reformed Church have largely been completed and no major works are expected to be required in the next five years with no major expenditures forecast.Following on from the granting of permission to inter ashes on site, several interments have taken place and a Book of Remembrance is kept by the church as a formal Church Record of interred ashes within the curtilage of the church.

Achievements and Performance
Worship and Prayer – the Church Council is keen to offer a range of services during the week and over the course of a year to be both beneficial and spiritually fulfilling for all. For example, the midweek communion service provides a smaller more intimate, weekly opportunity to share bread and wine; this service offers a quiet space and is valued by those who regularly attend.We continue to use worship material from various sources reflecting our ecumenical ethos, and a typical service is accessible to, and appreciated by, members of participating denominations.

Music is provided by a dedicated group of organists and piano players, and Jubilate, the church singing group, regularly provides an input before and during morning worship, and at evening cafe Church services.  In addition, Jubilate has carried out singing engagements at other churches.

For the third time, we put on "NOAL" ("Nativity on a Lorry") with Abbey Community Church.  We visited a number of local streets with a nativity scene on the lorry, carols being played, and distributed free sweets and booklets to local families.  This initiative was again very well received by locals, again with surprise that we were giving away God's love and not trying to raise funds.


Use of the church buildings has increased and a variety of different organisations, both Christian and secular, are welcomed in.  This year has seen the development of a mother and toddler group led by Abbey Church who use our buildings to provide this service to a large group of local parents.

Going forward, we are working to improve external communications through actions championed by our Advocate, Frank Heggs, and training relating to Healing Ministries.

At present we have 91 members and 51 adherents. Most people live locally. The membership and adherents’ lists are reviewed annually, with some being added and other removed. The average weekly attendance during 2018 was 79 (2017 was 77), but this does vary through the year, particularly at festival times.  An increase in attendance was noticeable in the second half of 2018.

Looking outwards
As well as our regular services, we enable our community to celebrate and thank God at various points in their own lives. There were 1 wedding and 3 baptism services throughout the year and 4 funerals services were held in the church, with our minister officiating in further services at the Crematorium. 

We ran a monthly T@3 group attended by about 40 persons from the local community, a regular Luncheon Fellowship, Community Holidays group, Craft Group and Banner Group. 

We deliver "Open The Book" at the two local schools (Heron and Abbeymead) and open the church for Experience Easter and Experience Christmas, events much appreciated by children and staff from the schools.  We have a successful Boys Brigade and Girls Association based at the church. 

The church is also used as a very pleasant meeting place by other community groups.  The local Scout Group parades at our Annual Remembrance Day Service and scouts and their leaders participate in the service.