Soul Church construction project in Heartsease Lane, Norwich

4:49 PM March 27, 2022

A church that burned down 17 years ago could be reopened next year after a major construction project got off to a good start on its former home.

The Norwich Family Life Church, which was based at the Mount Zion Family Life Center in Heartsease Lane, was destroyed after being struck by lightning in February 2006.

Now known as Soul Church, the congregation was based in an industrial unit in Mason Road, but members still wanted to return to its old home.

Builders at work on the new Soul Church in Heartsease Lane, Norwich, in March 2022
– Credit: Soul Church

After groundbreaking on the large lot in October, construction began on the new Heartsease Church and Community Asset.

Soul Church pastor Jon Norman and his wife Chantel, who run Soul Church on Mason Road, Norwich.

Soul Church pastor Jon Norman and his wife Chantel, who run Soul Church on Mason Road, Norwich. Photo by SIMON FINLAY.
– Credit: Simon Finlay

Senior Pastor Jon Norman said he hoped it could open within the next 12-18 months, adding: “This marks the start of an exciting journey. The planning has taken a long time and it’s
amazing to think that we will be able to see it take shape over the next few months. We have so much
many community projects in preparation, for children, seniors, youth, parents, employment
job seekers and more.

“We have outgrown our current premises, but this building will allow us to
offer practical help, support and more to people in the area.

The new 58,000 m² project will include a 1,200-seat auditorium, a crèche, a community store, a café and a sensory room.

There will also be a car park with 242 spaces, including 13 PMR spaces and 32 bicycle spaces.

Before the plans were approved by Norwich City Council, Mr Norman said the church would cost around £7million to complete to be paid for through fundraising efforts.

Church leaders promise the new location will be a ‘historic building and an important community
asset to the people of Norwich”.

During the Covid lockdown in 2020, Soul Foundation, part of Soul Church, sent a weekly average of 45,000 meals to 5,000 vulnerable families.

The nonprofit typically delivered 1,000 meals a week before the pandemic.

Soul Church's free production The Wonder was back bigger and better than ever

Performers from an earlier production of The Wonder at Soul Church in Norwich
– Credit: Soul Church

Soul Church also draws crowds every Christmas for its free festive show, The Wonder, which celebrated its fifth year in 2019 and drew crowds of 10,000 across 14 separate performances that year.

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