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Church closed for 65 years reopens to reach young generations

According to the Diocese of Bristol, the team at St Nicholas Church will be led by Rev Toby Flint, who is currently the lead pastor at Holy Trinity Brompton in London.

The church will focus on younger generations, as 60 per cent of the people in the city centre are between the ages of 15 and 29.

St Nicholas will partner with other churches and organisations as it gets involved in social action, including looking at ways to tackle homelessness, food poverty and youth unemployment.

Rt Rev Dr Lee Rayfield, acting Diocesan Bishop, said: "As Bristol becomes younger and more diverse, we want to make an impact on the city.

"We are excited about how St Nicholas will grow the Church and bring about social transformation.

"This is one way in which we will be developing our commitment to making more disciples, engaging younger generations and connecting with our communities in our changing city."

St Nicholas closed as a church following bomb damage during the Second World War. It was leased to Bristol City Council and was rebuilt as a museum telling the story of Bristol and making reference to the church setting.

A central feature of the church is a large altar picture piece by William Hogarth originally commissioned for St Mary Redcliffe and subsequently passed on to the city.

Since the museum closed, the Council has used the space for firstly the Tourist Information Centre and then latterly offices.
An agreement has been reached to continue to house the painting in the church when it reopens with allocated days when it will be made visible for the public to see.

The overall cost of refurbishing the church and funding its local and city-wide work over six years is £3.8 million.

As part of this, the Diocese of Bristol has been awarded £1.5m of Strategic Development Funding by the Church of England to support the costs across the first four years.

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