History of CPCC
Anglicans and Baptists Working Together
It was a marriage made in Heaven ! Both St. Andrew's Parish Church and Gorleston Baptist had set their sights on developing work in the Cliff Park area. St. Andrew's had experimented with a Sunday School in the South Gorleston area in the early 1950s. Later a presence was established with a curate's house on the Cliff Park estate.
Gorleston Baptist starting looking southwards a few years later but made the first move with plans for an experimental service at the Cliff Park Middle School on Easter Sunday 1997. By this time the Rev. Paddy McGlinchey was the St. Andrew's assistant minister living on Cliff Park. When in January of that year he heard about the proposed service he approached the then Baptist Minister, Richard Hughes, and from an initial chat over a coffee, the idea of the two denominations coming together to jointly plant a church was born.
Members from both churches formed a "core group" who met, prayed and planned together. The project had the blessing of both churches and - in a blaze of publicity and just in time for Christmas - Cliff Park Community Church began life on December 9th 1999. Described as "a new church for a new millennium" it even broadcast live on Sunday January 2nd 2000 on BBC Radio Norfolk. To use that rather hackneyed phrase this was a church which very much “hit the ground running”.
From the outset a combination of Bible-based modern worship, led by a large band, has drawn a large congregation from a wide area. From day one children’s and youth work have played a vital role with a crèche (now known as the A Team) and Kidz Church followed by Q3 for those of high school age.
After three years Paddy McGlinchey moved to Belfast; his successor was the Rev Mike Simm.
A series of evening and day time house groups was established and continues to be an important part of church life.
The Alpha Course has given many the opportunities to explore the Christian faith and commitment. Coming from both Anglican and Baptist traditions Cliff Park offers infant baptism and confirmation alongside infant dedication and baptism by full immersion.
From the earliest days we have enjoyed visits from a number of top Christian celebrities, beginning with the diet and fitness guru Rosemary Conley (there was lots of breathing in on that occasion) followed by singer Martin Posnett; Roy Castle’s widow, Fiona Castle; Radio Two presenter Janey Lee Grace; author and comedian Adrian Plass; Blue Peter and now sports presenter Simon Thomas and, more recently, Graham Cole former PC Tony Stamp of the long-running ITV series The Bill.