British ministry moves, grows
Mennonite center leaves longtime London home, acquires multiple sitesBy Tim Huber Mennonite World Review
After 58 years in the capital of the United Kingdom, the London Mennonite Centre is becoming more nimble, changing both its name and location.
Now known as the UK Mennonite Centre Trust, the center is moving many operations from London to Birmingham, closer to the center of southern England.
Selling the old north London LMC building produced significant funds to acquire several smaller and more serviceable properties in multiple cities.
MCT executive vice chair Andrew Francis said moving to the Selly Oak neighborhood of Birmingham will enable a better use of resources and allow the center to work more effectively within the UK Anabaptist Network.
Maintaining the LMC was becoming financially difficult, and local building codes prevented trustees from making renovations themselves.
“For even simple jobs like painting, it would cost us tens of thousands of pounds,” Francis said.
Similar properties in London were simply too expensive.
“The idea of its welcome, its resources, its hospitality is good, but it didn’t work,” he said. “To move across town and get a similar-sized facility just isn’t possible in today’s economic climate.”
The new property 75 miles west in Selly Oak is close to the International Mission Centre, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre and an increasing number of mission-oriented agencies. The mission center includes facilities and a cafeteria that could be used when MCT desires to host larger groups of about 100.
“We are really in a place where we can expand our ministry, and we don’t have to spend a host of money maintaining a facility that doesn’t see a significant amount of use for 60 to 80 percent of the year,” he said.
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