- During the week
- About us
8th April 2015
If you've ever had to rummage through the roof space at the Hastings Centre, you may have come across the church archives, hidden in the corner under a dusty light, with some very old hardware. Though King's is now a modern, thriving church with brilliant facilities and new people joining all the time, these archives are a reminder that it hasn't always looked like this.
Many of the faces that we see on Sunday have not been around since the church first emerged 40 years ago. King's started as St Leonards Christian Fellowship in 1974, when five people began to meet in Don and Stephanie Smith's basement flat. Within two years, the group had grown large enough to need to hire a building and finally, in 1991, we purchased Boundaries, an indoor cricket centre, which is now the Hastings Centre and has recently undergone a huge refurbishment project. The people that make up King's have changed over the years and though faces are always changing, King's remains a community that demonstrates the faithfulness of God in Hastings.
The staff currently working at King's come from all kinds of backgrounds. Those who have been working for many years work alongside staff who have only joined within the last few months, and despite the time differences, they all share a love for King's and serving the church. Su Butler, our current church office manager and Paul Mann's PA, worked as a headteacher before joining the church team around nine years ago. She first joined temporarily, in Resources, and also volunteered in the kids' work and several other areas, but became a permanent member of staff in 2007. She says, "When you think about King's in the past, it seems so small! And when I was first asked to become an administrator, I said no. But now I love my job, I really love it. I wouldn't do anything else! I look forward to it every day."
Many members of staff have been working at King's for a few years, and have seen many changes in the course of church life, whether that's in our leadership team (with our current lead elder, Paul, taking his position in 2009 after five years on staff), in the staff team, or in the way the building is run. Though the Hastings Centre has changed hands over the last few years, either run by those who've now left Hastings (such as Alwood Wick, who is now based in the Philippines with his family) or by some of our current members of staff, it's still running with great enthusiasm. The renovation project has opened up many opportunities to showcase King's, especially now that there are plenty more rooms than when the building was purchased, and to extend God's love to our community.
Laura Grove, who manages our on-site coffee shop, Coffee Box, and has been working here for the shorter time of 18 months, is able to think of creative ideas to welcome new people to the Hastings Centre, which is now a thriving conference centre run as a social enterprise. Coffee Box plays an active role in bringing people from the community into King's, as it opens throughout the week as a family-friendly place to meet. It hosts plenty of events, too, with family film nights and a licensed bar. It's a big step forward from the first purchase of the cricket facility around 20 years ago, and with the launch of our Sunday evening meetings after Coffee Box had opened, it's been an integral part of giving the building a new, modern look while King's remains grounded in its foundations as a community hungry for God.
Though King's has undergone significant changes, it keeps the same vision that Don Smith and others had in 1974: to glorify God and show his love to Hastings & 1066 Country. One of the oldest pieces in our archive, written in 1988, defines King's like this: "Who do we think we are? [...] We agree with the apostle Paul's definition of the church: 'All who are called to be God's holy people, who belong to him in union with Christ Jesus, together with all people everywhere who worship our Lord Jesus Christ.'" And the same is true of us today, demonstrating that God has continued to be faithful in growing His church in Hastings.
Posted by Sian Francis-Cox