The journey – from holding trustee to ownership 

As part of the transfer to Church Growth Trust (CGT) of numerous trusteeships that were previously held by the Fellowship Property Trust (FIEC’s trusteeship service), CGT took on the holding trusteeship of Grange Free Church, Rayleigh in 2022. The church had been growing older and smaller in number but had hoped to work with another local church to see growth and revitalisation. This did not work out and they have been in conversation with Giles Arnold, CGT’s Chief Executive, to see how CGT can help them.  

Giles worked with them to explore the various options available to them, including encouraging other local churches to work with them, connecting them with the Church Revitalisation Project (of which CGT is a partner), or for another church to take over the Gospel work. The church agreed to gift the property to Church Growth Trust and then subsequently made the decision to close. 

Closing a work is never an easy decision. But with Pastor John Pease now being in his eighties and the congregation having no other leadership, it was the right decision. This was made easier by the fact that Rayleigh Vineyard church already had a relationship with Grange Free Church. They had been hiring their meeting rooms for their outreach work with young parents and occasionally holding meetings in the worship area. Rayleigh Vineyard were keen to take on the use of and responsibility for the whole building and are pleased to be given a tenancy.  

Dave Smith, one of the leaders of Rayleigh Vineyard, says, “We are delighted to have the building and our own permanent base. The arrangements between us and the old fellowship has been great with John Pease helping in so many practical ways. We have also seen a significant reduction in our costs as we are now using one building compared instead of leasing and hiring multiple premises. We are grateful to Church Growth Trust for helping us in this way and for their passion for Gospel work continuing from their building around the country. We have been telling other Vineyard Churches to get in touch with them!”