Adoramus was the National Eucharist Pilgrimage and Congress initiated by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and held on the first weekend in September. The purpose of the Congress was to recognise the centrality of the Eucharist in our life and also to offer people an experience of strength and solidarity in their willingness to put God first in their lives.
One grateful pilgrim to the Congress detailed her experience and it is available to read on the ‘Latest News’ page of the Hallam News website, www.hallamnews.com.
Eucharist and Mission are intrinsically linked. At the end of every Eucharist, for example, we are dismissed with these or similar words: “Go forth. The Mass is ended.”
Our Diocese is just embarking on an exciting Mission. Here is the story …
MISSION HUB ~ The History
Work will begin this November renovating and transforming the now derelict 1863 Victorian school building at St Vincent’s, Solly Street, Sheffield, into an exciting new mission for the Diocese of Hallam.
The Mission Hub will seek out the ‘de-churched’ and ‘un-churched’ from the current generation of young adults. The de-churched are those who have lost sight of Christ, even though they may have been introduced to him in our families and schools, but for whatever reason are forgetting about him now.
The un-churched are the vast majority to whom the name of Jesus means little or nothing. We will reach out to 18–35 year olds, including students, young adults and young families.
Thanks to the generosity of the parish of St Vincent’s by the time we launch this mission in September, 2019 we will have renovated premises at the heart of Sheffield’s new student development area. We hope that the Mission Hub will serve as a lifeboat in this new, vibrant part of Sheffield and will seek out a lost generation of young adults and students who live in our midst. It will be a place of welcome and hospitality in which all young adults can feel that they belong.
The entrance to the Hub is therefore a Café, serving delicious coffee, music and offering a great vibe. It is a flexible space that seats 40 but can be opened up to seat up to 100 for ‘open mic’ evenings of relaxing with friends from all Christian denominations and none. The café is a place of welcome, unity, evangelisation and fun.
Beyond the café are two flexible break-out spaces leading to the student chaplaincy, complete with a kitchen, where our students can meet, eat, study and relax.
The Mission Hub is also a space for deep prayer and encounter with the Lord. Once you move beyond the ground floor spaces designed for welcome and hospitality, you will walk up the stairs and discover a small oratory for quiet prayer. It is our deep desire that Jesus will soon be adored and consoled in the Blessed Sacrament around the clock, day and night in this room. The heart and soul of the entire building is the large ‘upper room’ chapel that seats about 220 people for Mass, with impressive lighting, audio and media. This space is flexible, enabling other forms of praise and worship outside of Mass.
For the Hub to be a true Mission it is not sufficient to be a place of refuge, welcome and prayer. We must seek to intentionally raise up a new generation of missionary disciples and leaders to serve in our diocese and beyond. To assist in this we are studying and learning the techniques and methods of some of our Christian brothers and sisters from other denominations who are already achieving this with great success. We are also forming a team of volunteers both locally and nationally, made up of young adults who have discovered this mission and want to be part of it. So if you are a young adult, or know anyone who might want to find out more, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most of all, please cover this exciting and challenging mission with lots and lots of prayer!
The Solly Street Story
The site on Solly Street, including the old school building which will become the new Mission Hub, has great historical significance for the people of St Vincent’s parish – many of whom were baptised or married in the church and attended the school before it closed in the 1990s.
In fact, the parish’s association with the site dates back to 1851 when a plot of land was purchased there for £700 to provide a Catholic school-chapel for the area. The building was completed in July, 1853 and put under the charge of the Vincentians.
The Sheffield Blitz in 1940 resulted in the destruction of the original 1853 chapel, although the newer part of the church from 1911 escaped serious damage. However, after the war the whole area was badly damaged and the church lost much of its congregation. In 1996 it closed as a place of worship, and the Vincentian Fathers then left Sheffield altogether in April, 1997.
A new parish church for St Vincent’s was opened in Crookes in 2001, but the parish continued to own the land on Solly Street and operated a commercial car park there. However, by 2015, both the church and the old school building were in a very derelict state and the costs of maintaining the site were soaring.
The situation came to a head when the Council insisted that considerable sums of money needed to be spent on re-roofing the old school building. The parish could simply have sold the whole site, but decided instead to retain the old school building and sell the rest of the site, using the money raised to renovate the old school building for use by the parish.
This was agreed, but the parish still had a problem – how could we feasibly run a community centre with very limited resources? We put together a proposal for how it might work, but it was going to be a massive challenge … until in stepped Fr Lee Marshall with his plans for a Mission Hub for young people and families! Providence really was playing a hand.
Fr Lee presented his vision to the St Vincent’s parish finance committee and we were all excited to see what he had in mind. Finally, after many meetings and prayers, the rest of the site was sold for student accomodation and the parish agreed to use a portion of the funds raised to help fund the transformation of the old school building into a state-of-the-art Mission Hub, to be run by the chaplaincy but still owned by the parish.
And so from next year, 23 years after the closure of the original St Vincent’s Church, Mass will once again be celebrated regularly on Solly Street – not in the old church but in the beautifully refurbished old school building.
As a parish we are delighted to have played our part in this new and exciting development, which we feel sure is an answer to our prayers. The future of the Catholic presence on Solly Street is bright.
Em and Sammy’s Story
Two weeks ago we moved from Suffolk to Sheffield. Sammy left his job after six years in the British Army and I, Em, left my job as a physiotherapist. We have been married for four years and are in our late twenties.
Why have we moved to Sheffield?
Was it a new job? Family? Friends?
None of these are the reason!
In fact we know hardly anyone and don’t have jobs yet! The reason we have come is to be a part of Mission Hub.
We believe Mission Hub will be a place that will be a home for all, that will nurture and mentor people and, as a consequence, will encourage them to boldly live out their faith! We desire to see the Church filled with young adults who radically love Jesus and we pray that Mission Hub will be a place where we see this in action.
Having learnt so much from other denominations about starting new churches, we are very excited that the Catholic Church are now following suit! As an ecumenical couple, we pray that Mission Hub will work alongside other churches in Sheffield to impact the local community and bring unity across Christ’s Church.
We are excited about this new venture and all that God has in store!