Pop-up church in South Shields town centre was a blessing

West Harton Methodist Church's Angela Lishman in the King Street pop up church.
West Harton Methodist Church's Angela Lishman in the King Street pop up church.
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Church workers are rejoicing after hundreds of South Tynesiders visited their pop-up church - and looking forward to their next project.

For the last three years West Harton Methodist Church, which is based in Boldon Lane, has hired an empty unit in South Shields town centre on the run up to Christmas and Easter.

The aim behind the venture is to spread the original meaning of the holidays - religion.

Angela Lishman, manager, is delighted with the success of the most recent pop-up church which ran until last month.

It focused on the current situation in Syria, with refugees fleeing Aleppo, drawing similarities to Mary and Joseph’s plight ahead of the birth of Jesus.

She said: “We never count actual visitors through the door, instead we record the number of items we used.

“So this time we went through 1,200 disposable cups, more than 1000 napkins, 236 tea bags, 850 halves of scones and 160 mince pies.”

Members would love to run their pop-up church all year round. However, it costs in the region of £2,000 per set-up and requires lots of volunteers to run the shop.

The team will be back again this Easter, but not in their usual King Street venue as it’s not available to hire this time.

Anegla said: “We have offered free hospitality, which many people initially mistrust, as nothing is free these days.

“But most people are taken by what we are doing, even those who don’t come in, but often stop to talk to the person at the door.

“Everyone knows we are a church, but that we don’t force our beliefs on anyone or try to convert.”