The Gateway is the community centre owned by St Swithin’s at the corner of London Road and Snow Hill, about half a mile from the church. All that happens there is guided by our belief that social action and evangelism go hand in hand, and that mission takes place through the context of relationships.
The centre is at the heart of the Snow Hill estate and our vision is to encourage and empower local people to run their own projects there.
Regular activities at the Gateway include Youth Club, Men’s Group, Ladies’ Night, dance classes and exercise sessions. Events have included a pizza-making evening, quiz night, barbecues and family discos. The centre is available for private hire and is regularly used for meetings, parties and community events. Our community worker Domenica Oatley, who manages the centre, also provides regular counselling and advice to local people over a cup of tea. :
We take a modern approach to our Christian community work at Snow Hill. Although Christian workers lead all evangelistic projects and events, all of the regular day to day projects and community events are led by members of the local community with the support of the key workers. The key workers empower local families and individuals to run their own projects. They are facilitators rather than service providers. We have recently started a Fresh Expression following this model.
The centre was opened in 1963 and was used for many years as the Walcot parish hall and as a centre of worship before the congregation moved to St Swithin’s itself. It replaced an old stone Gospel Hall on the opposite side of Snow Hill, which had also been used for a wide variety of church and community purposes since the 19th Century.
The building is now in need of modernisation to make it fit for the next 50 years. We are aiming to provide more modern, more flexible accommodation so that a wider range of activities can take place in a more welcoming and sustainable building. This is a major project and we are exploring options for the future, with options drawn up by our architect. We are currently waiting for the appointment of our new Rector before moving forward the right development in partnership with the community.
We support Genesis Trust which supports homeless or recently housed people on the margins of society in Bath and the surrounding area to help them rebuild their lives. The Trust is supported by nearly 60 local churches of all denominations. It provides both practical and emotional support. For example, at the practical level it provides food and clothing to those without homes. It assists people into housing and runs a furniture restoration project that offers both training and cheap, quality furniture for those being re-housed. It also offers emotional support through its ‘Lifeline Centre’ and has recently been granted planning permission to develop a new centre adjacent to St Swithin's.
Street Pastors is an inter-denominational church response to urban problems. Teams of pastors go onto the streets on a Friday and Saturday night to listen, talk and meet with those who need a helping hand or listening ear. Having started in London there are now over 100 teams around the United Kingdom. The teams work closely with the Police, Council and other statutory agencies in partnership with local churches and community groups. Some of our congregation serve with Street Pastors on the streets of Bath each weekend.