Salvation Army church in Reading celebrates 140 years
published on 10 Oct 2022
Our church in Reading Lower Earley has just celebrated its 140th anniversary, investing in a new coffee hub area for the community, and extending its welcome.
The new coffee hub opened on Saturday 24 September – the same weekend the local church celebrated 140 years in the community. The church was formerly known as ‘Reading East’ Salvation Army based on Kings Road and the church relocated to the purpose-built Lower Earley premises in 1994. The church was used as a vaccination centre during the coronavirus pandemic and offered space for its neighbouring GP surgery, to administer the COVID-19 vaccines in the church hall, vaccinations are still being administered through the church.
Leader of Reading Lower Earley Salvation Army, Lieutenant Jacqueline Coates said: “There are many needs in the community spanning all generations, our prayer is for the coffee hub to be a place for all to meet, make new friends and build relationships. We want to create a space that is warm and welcoming, a place where people can come and be themselves and be with others. All too often, people live in isolation and we want to offer a place that brings people together.”
The Coffee Hub is open Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm at The Salvation Army Chalfont Place, Reading Lower Earley. It is run by a manager and volunteers, with more volunteers taking an interest to give their time since the hub opened two weeks ago. The hub will further extend the welcome with existing programmes such as the toddler church and Messy church for families. Messy church is a format that allows families to explore faith together in craft activities, hear bible stories, and enjoy a meal together.
During the weekend of the 24 and 25 September the church gave thanks to God for their long service in the community and displays were set up showing archive pictures, memorabilia, and news clippings, including historic Salvation Army uniforms. The church also had a barbeque in their garden during the anniversary weekend, which has just won an award from the RHS in the ‘It’s your neighbourhood’ initiative, where local groups can receive advice from the RHS about the development of community gardens.
The new hub was opened by the Central South Divisional leaders, Majors Mike and Lisa Lloyd-Jones. The coffee hub offers fairtrade coffee, cakes, and other hot and cold drinks at set prices. The coffee grounds are recycled into the church’s garden. Customers can also ‘buy-forward’ hot drinks for those who may not be able to afford a hot drink, with the Rotary Club of Reading Maiden Erlegh, also supporting some funding for those needing assistance to pay for hot drinks.
The Salvation Army is a church and charity providing services in the community, particularly to those who are vulnerable. Motivated by Christian faith, they offer practical support and services in over 650 centres throughout the UK to all who need them.
The Salvation Army hold church services every Sunday at 10:30am, for all ages as well as KAOS (Kids Alive On Sunday) once a month.