In September 2018 Hope Church purchased the former Odeon cinema in the centre of Ipswich. The 5-screen cinema, built in the early 90s, is an iconic building in the town and has stood empty since 2005. We have plans to transform it into the Hope Centre, giving considerable room for us to grow as a church community and to grow the many and varied ministries that are serving our town.
Here are some answers to questions that you may have:
Swipe through the plans below to see what the final layout of the building will be like.
THE HOPE CENTRE BLOG
In 1991, Orwell Christian Fellowship (later to become known as Hope Church) moved out from a house in Ipswich and into Copleston High School. This was a massive step of faith at the time, trusting that God would not only meet the resulting financial implications, but also all the organisational and pastoral commitments that came with opening the doors to Ipswich on a much larger scale. Little did they know that when they took that step of faith, God was lining up something much bigger… something that, at the time, would have blown their minds. That same year, in 1991, a 33,000 square-foot, 5 screen cinema was built right in the middle of Ipswich, and thirty years later, that building would become the home of Hope Church. What a God we serve! He has infinite resources and He loves it when we grow and step out in faith – I wonder what He’s doing now in preparation for what’s in store in 30 years from now.
Welcome to the blog for the redevelopment of the former Odeon cinema; ‘The Hope Centre’. My name is Matt Cornish, I am managing the project and I intend to regularly update with developments, news, photos and prayer points as we progress. It’s going to be an exciting year as the building starts to transform into a space which God will use for His Church, His Kingdom’s advance, serving the town and where Jesus’ name will be made famous here in Ipswich and in the Nations. Click here if you would like to know more about who Hope Church are and our vision and values.
LATEST UPDATE WRITTEN 09.04.21
It has been a couple of months since my last blog entry and I’m excited to say that a lot has happened since then; including a certain period of snow!
At the last time of writing, the external fire exit doors had started being replaced with new smart grey ones and they have now all been completed. This not only makes the building much more secure but is also a great first step to smartening up the outside of the building. To add to the security, the building has also had a new alarm system installed, with contacts fitted to every external door and sensors throughout.
Going inside the building, starting on the third floor, the Prayer room is looking fantastic. The ceiling has been painted, lights have been installed, air conditioning has been commissioned, skirting has been fixed in place and window sills are currently being over-boarded. There is a little levelling to be done on the floor, but the carpets are not far away and then it will just need a final paint and a few electrical installations. A great space!
On the second floor, the top foyer has had ceilings and lighting installed, with carpets going down as I write this. We’ve placed cardboard walkways over to try and protect the carpets during the construction.
The second floor is also where we find the Main Auditorium and I’m sure you’ll agree from the photos, it looks incredible! A lot has happened in this room – ceilings have been installed, as well as air conditioning, skirting and carpets. Some of you may have seen the video on Facebook when the house lights went on for the very first time – which was fantastic as it really illuminated the space which, due to being a cinema, has never been lit up properly before. The house lights, which are fully dimmable and will be integrated with the stage lighting system, are also accompanied by emergency lighting.
The ‘front of house’ desk, where the sound, lights, cameras and visuals will all be operated from, has been built. The holes you can see in the front will be filled with doors for accessing wires in the future.
The walls around the stage have been covered in acoustic insulation held in with netting and then covered with drapes to help control the sound. The entirety of the ‘stage area’ will be black to help with lighting the space.
Going down to the first floor, the glass wall and doors for the offices and meeting room have been installed and look beautiful. As with the previous floor, the ceilings have been done and the lighting installation has started. The batons on the wall, in the open plan offices, will be painted grey to give a panelling effect.
The big wall in the Connect Lounge has been painted, the curved bulkhead above the bar has been completed and a doorway has been created between the stair way and the lounge. The pillar behind the bar has been re-wrapped ready to be laminated; as will be the case for all the other pillars in the foyer areas. The bar will receive a make over to give it an updated and fresh look – look out for this in the next update. The boxes you can see in the image below are carpet tiles soon to be laid.
Finally, on the ground floor, all the rooms and spaces have been created, ceilings have started going in and these will be the next areas for lighting and carpets. I anticipate that the next blog entry will showcase this floor in more detail so watch this space!
SO WHAT IS NEXT?
The ceilings, carpets and lighting will continue to go in throughout the building over the coming weeks. The pillars will be laminated, the Connect Lounge bar will receive a much-needed remodelling, window sills will be reboarded and laminated and the glass for the balustrades is due towards the end of this month ready for installation – plus lots more!
Please do continue to pray for the project, whilst there has been a lot of exciting progress, there are still several elements which require resolving. So please do pray for those remaining issues to be speedily and effectively overcome, for safety on site (including protection against COVID-19), and for everything to go smoothly between now and the day we open the Hope Centre.
Finally, we are so thankful that in December we were awarded a grant for an incredible £38,000 by All Churches Trust; who equip and empower Christian organisations to have a positive and transformative impact on lives and communities. This project is predominantly financed by the generous giving by many at Hope Church and beyond. We have seen God’s faithfulness in abundance so far in this project but there is much more to come. If you would like to give into the Hope Centre project, you can do so by clicking here. Alternatively, if you would like more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.