Kingsbrook Community Church is based on the Kingsbrook estate in Aylesbury, currently serving over 1,200 new homes. Without its own building, the church has developed creative ways of reaching people and growing relationships with the community.
Five years ago, the Revd James Talbot and his family moved onto Kingsbrook, a new housing estate that was in construction on the eastern side of Aylesbury, to begin growing a church presence in the community. The church began as a plant from Broughton Church in Aylesbury, with a small group gathering in a couple of the first 250 new homes. Fast forward to now, a group of 20-30 people, a mix of adults and children, gather weekly in the new local primary school, Kingsbrook View Primary Academy.
Early on, James sought to establish a civic parish council for Kingsbrook and keep the church engaged in the two-and-a-half-year process:
“It was important to recognise that it takes a long time to establish something in a community that is still growing, doesn’t have all the usual facilities and infrastructure of an established community, and continues to change as people move onto the estate. Establishing the parish council was an important first step in giving the community a voice and demonstrating that the local church wants to help the community to flourish. The relationship we developed through the process has meant that five years down the line, the church is now regularly invited and involved in community events and decision making.”
James splits his time, working for the church and running a small coffee van outside the primary school as part of the church’s outreach. The van offers a meeting place for local people where James can build relationships with the community and make the church known.
“Being a church without our own building means we have had to think creatively about what it looks like to be a visible church presence on the estate. A typical church service on a Sunday isn’t where most of the community ‘live’ and it is far more widespread than assuming a gathering on Sunday will draw people in.
“The primary school, which opened last year, has become a key focus for our outreach and mission, and we have formed good relationships with the school leaders. With over 90% of the pupils and their families living on the estate, it’s the one place where people are visiting and walking everyday, so it made sense to utilise this space. The coffee van is one of my favourite parts of the day, I sit outside the primary school for a couple of hours chatting with parents, and it opens opportunities for conversation about faith and the church.”
The Kingsbrook estate is set to double in size from where it is now to 2,500 homes in the next few years with more families moving in all the time and the secondary school opening earlier this year. James shares how living and ministering on the new estate has been both positive and challenging:
“Planting into a new place where the dynamic is consistently changing and evolving isn’t easy, but it’s really interesting and exciting. We have been flexible in our mission and find a fit that’s appropriate for the community at each shape and stage of its development while remaining faithful to Jesus.”
North Aylesbury Resourcing Network
Kingsbrook Community Church is part of the North Aylesbury Resourcing Network and the Aylesbury Greenhouse. James meets regularly with other church leaders in the network also planting into areas of new housing.