Despite the rumours to the contrary, the Church of Jesus Christ is very much alive! The church here on Ipswich Road is a sign of that life. We have been here since 1952 when a group of pioneers from the then Princes Street Congregational Church came to found a church to serve the new estates at Eaton Rise and Tuckswood.
We are part of the Norwich Area United Reformed Churches (NAURC), which includes Jessopp Road URC, Princes Street URC and Trinity URC in Norwich, as well as the URCs in Wymondham, Wroxham & Hoveton and Mattishall. This group is a team ministry with three full time ministers and a Church Related Community Worker. We share regular joint services and social events and seek to work together for the sake of God’s kingdom in Norfolk. For more information on the NAURC, please visit www.norwichareaurc.co.uk.
We believe that Jesus came to show us how to live, and to offer us forgiveness and new life through his death and resurrection. Jesus’ Gospel (‘Gospel’ literally means ‘good news’) drives us to serve our communities and work for justice and peace in the world. We believe, as Jesus did, that Jesus came to give life in all it’s fullness (John 10:10).
We are an open and inclusive church and seek to involve everyone in our life and work, partnering with local residents and organisations for the good of all. We raise money for various local, national and international charities including the Night Shelter, Food Bank, Umbrella Housing, the Norfolk and Waveney Industrial Mission, MacMillan Nurses, Embangweni, Christian Aid, Samaritan’s Purse, Compassion, Green Gecko, Commitment for Life, TWAM and Traidcraft.
Our approach to life is summed up in:
Ipswich Road’s Statement of its ongoing Vision
It is our goal to be a vibrant and sustainable Christian community, called by God to grow actively in faith, love and commitment to Jesus Christ, our Lord. We believe he invites us to follow him and, empowered by the Holy Spirit live the Gospel by proclaiming its message of truth, forgiveness, freedom, transformation and justice, bringing hope, comfort and healing into a hurting world.
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Karen Whiterod was baptised in August 2012 at Ipswich Road URC. Here Karen shares her story of faith:
I decided to become a Christian on 1st November 2011. At that time the rheumatoid arthritis from which I had been suffering for a year had gone into remission. I had a Christian friend, David, whom I had met at my dance class. My grandparents had been Christians and ran a Mission Hall in Hingham, where my grandfather was a lay-preacher and I attended Sunday school. None of this alone made me a Christian but the effect has been cumulative. I believe Jesus Christ has been working in my life for a very long time (a life-time probably) as many things have created a drip drip effect which in the past few years have increased their effectiveness resulting in me welcoming Jesus Christ into my life.
When I was ill the activities and means to earn my living were taken away from me. I worked as a self-employed community artist, having pain in my hands, not being able to use my right arm meant I couldnt work, pain in my knees, ankles and feet restricted my mobility, so driving and my hobby of dancing was out, I couldnt invite friends or family round for a meal as cooking was difficult. When I recovered somehow just picking up my life in the same way didnt seem appropriate. That experience needed to be transformed into something positive. I learnt so much from that experience: God has blessed me with a family and friends who supported and cared for me in their own ways (and still do). He gave me the skills to problem-solve and work-out ways to help myself. I can now empathise with those whose lives are shaped by illness and disability.
I had known David for two years and had experienced his kindness and seen how he helped others and his selflessness in being a Street Pastor once per month even though he would only have one & a half hours sleep due to working early the following day. I had occasionally attended services at this church with him and Josie. I had been to a New Years Eve party in Wroxham and made a cross in a clay workshop in Princes Street church.
On 1st November everything aligned itself, you might say. It started with a walk with David on Marston Common, the simple appreciation that I could walk and see the God-given beauty of the natural world. Then we visited Jill and Paul. I heard about Pauls life as a creative person and I knew he was a Christian. Being able to identify with a person has a powerful impact and sets you thinking. Following this David and I talked about Christianity for possibly the first time, he was about to attend his Alpha course and had his book with him. Alone later in a state of great agitation I felt I had to jump over this barrier and say I wanted to know more, in fact, maybe I really knew at once that I wanted Jesus Christ in my life, reading Questions of Life (which Matt gave me) was just a fact searching exercise not a need to convince myself. Going on a retreat at Clare Priory on 19th November strengthened that conviction.
What does this mean to me now? I am not alone in my struggles, that is a huge comfort: I can pray, I can pick up my bible and read. I know I am loved by my Father God and he has plans for me, he will guide me. Faith has replaced uncertainty and anxiety. I know there is another way to live: the goals of our society to acquire money and prestige are not relevant, that is very liberating. Knowing you can be kind and considerate to others and if your motives are questioned, you can just say, Im a Christian! Many of my concerns about environmental issues and the selfishness in our society have been given a framework; it is all part of who I am as a Christian. I dont have to fit in with the rest of society if that doesnt feel right.
I think the gradual way that I became a Christian is an example of how the Holy Spirit can work through us to bring others to know Jesus Christ, but we must accept that the result may not be instantaneous. My grandmother, Dora Whiterod, always prayed and hoped I would become a Christian, she took me and several of our family members to see Billy Graham at Carrow Road, but it didnt have a result at the time. The final stage of my journey to having a relationship with Jesus Christ has been through meeting a Christian at dance class and recovering from a life-changing illness. This supports our recent sermon that our mission-field is out there in our world, where we meet and interact with others and are visible Christians.