Picture: St Augustine’s Hall
St Augustine’s meets as a church every Sunday at 11am in St Augustine’s Hall. We are a small community church. On any given Sunday there could be between 12-25 of us meeting for a worship service with a bias toward contemplation. This involves a small amount of chanting, silence and readings. We have a ‘community time’ for news and an update from the members of the church, and there is a sermon, with a small music group leading us in a few songs.
Holy Communion is usually celebrated twice a month (see list of services), usually by the vicar, the Rev Sarah Quantrill, but sometimes by one of the two ordained members of our congregation. The morning worship service is led by members of the congregation.
The church itself dates from 1163. It was re-dedicated on 30 April 1429 following extensive rebuilding and re-roofing, possibly necessitated by damage to its fabric during the Peasants’ Revolt 40 years earlier.
In 1993 the congregation, numbering 40-50, moved out of the church because the roof was dangerous. About £80,000 was raised to renovate the church hall for worship. In 1999, during a long period without a vicar, the old church was declared redundant. By then our numbers had dropped to about 25.
We wanted to grow from there and identified quite a strong ‘alternative’ community living in our area, and made a decision to be less ‘churchy’.
We re-ordered the building to make it more attractive, and rebranded ourselves as the Norwich Christian Meditation Centre which has its own website, using modern marketing and advertising techniques to publicise our events. We encouraged the development of a Community Group to include those on the local estate. Since then we have organised various events (such as Monday Club) to help those on the fringes of society and those in particular need, such as asylum seekers.
We still use the old church for special events, such as the Midnight Communion on Christmas Eve.