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From The Archives: Sound Church Bath, building a high-spec church building in a World Heritage Site city.

Matt Holderness Portrait Matt Holderness
3 min

Sound Church (charity number 1072196) began in 2000, the congregation leading a semi-nomadic life, moving from one school hall to another, with no home to call their own. 

The Senior Pastor, Betsy de Thierry, had a vision to build a modern, contemporary structure for the next generation, to bless them and their community. As it turned out, it was a long, hard journey; challenges and difficulties came thick and fast, not least the many restrictions placed on any new buildings in Bath which is a World Heritage Site.

A big vision for a venue to serve the community and the church

The church worked hard to raise funds for their new building. Their vision was not for a hub, or a church hall, or an extension, but a very large, hi-spec, sound-engineered auditorium which could be used to host services, outreach, meetings, events, concerts and to reach out into the community. The total estimated cost for this was £2.3m.

inside church building

The church sold a property, had gift days, and were blessed with one-off gifts and sacrificial giving from the congregation as well as several small grants. With the funds raised, they bought the piece of land they wanted, which was the only freehold plot in the whole city and already had an existing planning consent. However, there was still a significant shortfall in the amount needed to build the auditorium.

Connecting with Stewardship for a crucial loan

With all the challenges involved in what ended up being a 10-year project, it wasn’t until the end of 2017 that Sound Church was in a position to get in touch with the lending team at Stewardship. A loan of almost £2m was approved by Trustees which removed the last barrier stopping the auditorium being built. Betsy’s vision of a fit for purpose, state of the art building has been realised and people are pouring in.

inside church building

They now have a facility which fulfils their vision of the growing church. It is being used around the clock and every Sunday they see the miracle of salvation. The new kids’ club is flourishing with the incredible facilities including their own soft play area plus a giant play castle.

As well as pastoring Sound Church, Betsy de Thierry runs Trauma Recovery Centre (charity number 1141659), which is housed in Freedom’s buildings. A month after the auditorium was opened, it hosted 130 professionals who worked with traumatised children and young people.

A dream finally realised

Sound Church’s dream of reaching out to their city, their community and the next generation with God’s love has come true. Without the release of the loan funds, the Sound Church Auditorium would not be standing proudly on the Bath to Bristol Road, with doors open and hands ready to serve The Kingdom.

Stewardship was delighted to partner with Sound Church in the development of the Sound Church Auditorium as a home of their own. You can support Sound Church and can also find out how Stewardship can support your church in a purchase of a building or a development of a property. 

This article was originally published in the Stewardship annual accounts 2019 and tells the story of how Stewardship came to assist Sound Church (then called Freedom Church UK) with a loan to help them finish the development of their new church building.  

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Written by

Matt Holderness

Matt joined Stewardship in 2022 with over twenty years of marketing experience from roles at Kendal College and Capernwray Bible School. He has degrees in Business and Marketing, Theology, Management and most recently a Masters in Hermeneutics. 

Through raising awareness of Stewardship’s services, Matt helps people explore the impact their generosity can have on the church and Christian charities. He’s passionate about supporting Evangelism and Bible causes, and has a particular interest in charities that are helping people in Poverty and Debt in the UK.