Rosemary Ulyett writes:

“Christ Church, Lille, in northern France, was founded by a large English-speaking community (mainly involved in the textile industry of the time) towards the end of the 19th century, on land given in perpetuity by the town of Lille. The design and most of the fittings were all imported from the UK, so it’s a little piece of Victorian church history. It’s also of course today’s international Anglican church ministering to English speakers of many nationalities and backgrounds.

The church and the hall beneath have always provided a welcome and hospitality, from the early days of the British Institute, and even through WWI and the early days of WWII, where soldiers could find tea and a welcome respite from the battlefields.

We’re happy to be known as a place with a warm welcome for visitors and regular attenders alike. But we’d like local people to know more about us and what we do, and encourage them to step inside. So we’ve just opened a drop-in Café, inside the church itself, on Wednesday mornings where visitors can find coffee, free Wi-Fi, and a quiet area too. Everyone is welcome, whatever their reason for coming through the door.

Early visitors on opening day included some of the playgroup mothers and toddlers, and an interested Hungarian passer-by. One comment from a visitor was “I often walk past but have never been inside before, the chance of a visit and a coffee was too good to miss.”

We’ll be organising a mid-week coffee morning for some of the older members later on; making use of the Wi-Fi to organise some IT classes run by the students and younger members is the next project.”

Thanks for this report providing another example of ministry and mission in action within the diocese’s future plan "Walking together in Faith".