Oakham Baptist Church has taken the bold decision to move from one Sunday morning service to two with effect from May 7, in order to make room for the growth in numbers of people attending.
The church of around 100 members has experienced a surge in interest over the last two years, driven mainly by more young families coming along to the church, and are now often seeing up to 140 people attending on a regular Sunday morning.
As the 245-year-old building only comfortably seats 120 to 130 at capacity, the leadership team of Oakham Baptist Church – led by minister the Rev Steve Barnwell – have decided to grow to two services to make more space available for people to join.
They currently also hire two local venues, to accommodate their expanding children’s work, which regularly sees up to 40 youngsters attending, from babies to 15-year-olds.
Steve Barnwell said: “As a church whose vision is to engage with our community, the issue of more people than seats is a great problem to have.
“Having tried, without success, to hire a bigger venue in Oakham, we have taken the decision to repeat our morning service.
“With effect from Sunday, May 7, we will hold a 9am to 10.15am service, followed by half an hour for tea, coffee and chat for our folks to catch up with each other, then repeat the service from 10.45am to midday.
“Initially, only the later service will provide organised children’s work, though families are very welcome at both services.”
The church describes itself as a diverse, family-oriented church, contemporary in style, where all ages and backgrounds are very welcome.