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New church plant creates community rooted in worship

From meeting in the vicar’s lounge to a weekly congregation of 80 or more, Church on Berryfields has gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years.

The church grew out of a need to create a community on a new housing development, which was built on the edge of Aylesbury in 2014. The Revd Gareth Lane was one of the many new families who moved into the area. 

He said: “Right from early days we always said we wanted the people who moved here to have a church rather than having to go into Aylesbury. If people are Christian and they move to the estate, we want them to be able to feel they have a place. 

“We were an intergenerational church, right from the early days we had all generations together. It got parents talking to their children about faith. As a new housing estate, most of the people here are between their 20s and 50s so we had young families who were coming to church.

“We also have a great multicultural element to our church, as 30 per cent of the people here are global majority heritage, with families from Africa and the Indian sub-continent.”

The first summer a new park opened on the development, and the church joined the celebrations with a bouncy castle and a BBQ. More than 1,000 people came along – there was clearly a real desire to build a community. Initiatives like a monthly litter pick gave residents the opportunity to come together for the good of the people around them.

Gareth continued: “We started something called café church in the Aylesbury Vale Secondary School on a Sunday afternoon. It was something ‘light touch’ faith wise and it got people thinking about things from the Bible. This grew from once a month to fortnightly to now where we meet every Sunday in the morning. 

“We have grown now to the point where 10 years on we have about 125 who come within the month, and around 80 regularly each week and half of those are under 18.”

A foodbank established in the early days of the Covid pandemic continues to open every week, and the church is now host to Christians Against Poverty money courses.

Gareth explained he has more community outreach planned. He said: “Theres a BMX park coming next to the skate park this year. We are hoping to link in with that and do some targeted youth work, providing something for the teenagers. We have some Development Fund funding to extend our part-time youth worker.”

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Page last updated: Thursday 22nd February 2024 11:09 AM
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