Church extends it reach

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XO Church senior pastors Graeme and Bernie Pope at the site of the church's proposed new community hub on the corner of Beatrice St and Bill Richardson Drv, Invercargill last week.

CHANGE is afoot at Invercargill’s Cornerstone New Life Church as it moves to better serve its community into the future.

The church has been rebranded XO Church (Crossover Church).

Senior pastors Graeme and Bernie Pope said the rebranding reflected a “new season in the church”.

The name reflected the crossover between the community work the church was involved in during the week and its Sunday services, Mr Pope said.

The church welcomed about 700 people from outside the church through its doors each week, in addition to about 300 worshippers who attended Sunday services.

The name also had spiritual significance, referenced from a scripture in the Bible, he said.

XO Church leaders were also planning to expand the church’s reach beyond its present buildings in Tay St.

The group planned to build a new community hub across three sections on the corner of Beatrice St and Bill Richardson Drv, Invercargill, with its after-school programme as the main tenant.

Increasing demand for the church’s after school programme was such that it had outgrown its present site at 9 Tay St, Mr Pope said.

At present, upwards of 120 children picked up from 22 schools attended the after school programme every day.

Mr Pope said they had considered capping the programme, but opted instead to allow the programme to continue to grow.

“We needed to do something more for families.

“If we can keep helping people and the demand is there to allow it to keep growing [we won’t cap it].”

Mrs Pope said the church would continue to use its building on the corner of Tay and Clyde Sts for church services and retain the lease on 9 Tay St to run the church’s Sunday school programme and its regular lunches for SIT international students.

The proposed new community hub would have multi-faceted use, she said.

The church would run its children-focused programmes, including its after school programme, holiday programme and breakfast club from the new hub, but the facilities would also be made available to the community to hire for functions or meetings.

“The building was about enabling us to help more people in different ways.”

The complex, estimated to cost about $2 million, would include a full-sized indoor basketball court, commercial kitchen, separate indoor and outdoor playgrounds, barbecue area, scooter track, Lego room, AV room, cafeteria and office space.

Mr Pope said the church had purchased the land, and it now hoped to raise the funds required for the build.

They had set up a Givealittle page – Building for Families, and intended to approach community funders for help.

The concept for the community hub had been completed and the development was now in the planning stages.

Mr Pope said he hoped the build would be completed by the end of next year.

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