Spring Mount Christian Fellowship is a vibrant, growing church with a proud history dating back over 150 years. We moved into our current purpose built building on Abbey Road in the 1980s and it has served our needs very well. However, over the last few years it has become increasingly obvious that it is no longer big enough for our requirements, particularly on a Sunday morning. About ten years ago God gave us a very clear vision to see three worshipping communities within the Barrow area but at that time we had no idea what this meant. As a leadership we have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about it and exploring potential solutions however God always seemed to close the doors or it didn’t feel right.
In January 2015, out of the blue, we were made aware of a large, unoccupied building which was coming to auction on Roose Road. At first we were sceptical but felt it was right to at least view the property. We assumed it would be in need of complete renovation and did’t really know what to expect. Little did we realise what God had prepared for us!
We felt strongly that we needed to seek God’s guidance and so we spent a whole Saturday together praying and seeking God’s guidance and He showed us that it was right to trust Him and bid for the Pavilion at the auction. The only problem was the tight timescale. We first saw the property in late January and it was going to auction in February and we hadn’t got anything in place including the sufficient funds to buy it. However, we truly believed that God was showing us that we needed to step out in faith and buy the property and that He who is faithful would provide a miracle for us.
The first time we viewed the property we could see the potential. Salthouse Pavilion is a former cinema and bingo hall and has a very large auditorium. In addition to that there are several other rooms spread over three floors which offer scope for development in the future. As a growing church we need usable flexible space for all the activities that we are involved in. As if that wasn’t enough the property also offered a separate self contained annexe which had in the past been used as a chip shop. What amazing potential we could see! We all viewed the property several times and the more we saw it the more excited we got about it. God just wouldn’t let us forget about it.
We let the church know of our intentions and organised to hold additinal prayer meetings in the run up to the auction. We also needed to raise the funds and so appealed to the fellowship to get behind us and back us financially. We set a target that if the pledges given before the auction were met we would bid (even though this was still below the figure we needed.) To our amazement by the day of the auction our target was met by a few hundred pounds! That was a true encouragement from God to go ahead!
We successfully bid for The Pavilion on 19th February and were then the owners but still had to raise the rest of the funds in order to complete the sale one month later. Again, miraculously almost the exact amount of money eventually came in with just enough time to clear and pay for the building. In the space of about six weeks we had gone from seeking God to owning a former cinema! And we had received such clear encouragement from God that we knew it was right.
The purchase of the property was just the start of the journey. God is preparing us as a church individually and corporately to move in and be ready for th challenge of serving God in the Roose area. The building has been got ready for building work to start, plans have been drawn up, planning permission to use it as a church has been granted and we are ready to go! There is still a lot of hard work ahead but we know and trust that God is faithful and has exciting plans for Spring Mount @ Salthouse Pavilion!