A Norwich church has celebrated the opening of its new building 18 years after the previous one mysteriously burned down. 


The Norwich Family Life Centre was destroyed by fire in 2006. Only the steel cross that once stood on top of its roof survived the flames. 

Now known as Soul Church and led by pastor Jon Norman, the congregation have finally left their temporary premises and moved into the new building. 

The steel cross that survived the fire was built into the new design and craned into place during a cross-raising ceremony last October. In March, the church officially reopened, celebrating with a civic ceremony and multiple Sunday celebration services, with worship guest-led by former Delirious? frontman, Martin Smith. 

The church said that they received no statutory funding for the state-of-the-art building, which was made possible through the “sacrificial giving” of church members and the wider Christian community. As well as weekly church services, the building, which is situated on the Heartsease housing estate on the outskirts of the city, is also home to a nursery, café and social supermarket, as well as job clubs, money management courses and wellbeing services.

Norman said that their vision was for the building to serve as a “home to the broken hearted, a hub for the community and, most importantly, a place where people can meet with Jesus and receive him as their Lord and Saviour.” Ultimately, it’s “not about the building,” he added, “it’s about the people who will fill it, and changing their lives.”