Abundant Life Church Bradford
07 February 2007
Nowhere has the challenge of multiculturalism in the UK been seen more clearly than in Bradford.
This once great industrial centre, in the north of England, has over the past few decades become a region of great cultural and religious diversity, with clearly marked Muslim enclaves. The city has been the centre of some major social problems over the past few decades.
Yet Bradford is home to one of the most vibrant, creative and effective churches in the UK, the Abundant Life Church, led by Pastor Paul Scanlon.
Mal Fletcher was guest speaker at the church in February and found a group of Christian people who are deeply committed to reaching out in proactive ways to their diverse community.
The church has established a reputation for excellence and for commitment to community service, which few churches in Britain can match. A growing number of churches are now joining a network hosted by ALC and Paul Scanlon, seeking to learn from its successes.
After his visit, Mal said: 'This was only my second visit to ALC, though I've known Paul and Glenda Scanlon for some years now. The great thing about this church is the people! I always feel right at home from the time I arrive -- the leadership team have an infectious enthusiasm.'
'I also love the spirit of faith that permeates the place. Bradford is not, as a region, known for its excellence or for being ground-breaking. Yet this church is really working to redefine the culture in positive directions.'
'I think when Jesus said that the church is a "city on a hill which cannot be hidden", he was refering to groups of people like this one!'
Mal also spoke for the Abundant Life Leadership Academy, which has a student body of 50 people at first year level and others continuing into second year. The college started in 2000, but Pastor Stephen Matthews, principal of the school, reports that is already drawing the majority of its students from outside the Bradford region -- many come from across Europe and beyond.
For more information on Abundant Life Church and Abundant Life Leadership Academy, visit www.alm.org.uk.