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The Light Church was born on 25thAugust 2008. Matt and Josie Barlow and John and Lizzie Kirkby felt God call them to start a new community of believers centred around Jesus and full of the Holy Spirit. The heart was always that we would prioritise helping people who are struggling against the huge obstacles of poverty and disadvantage. We wanted our community to be radically inclusive so people from all walks of life would feel included and loved as well as being inspired and challenged to love God deeply.
So we said to God: ‘If you bring 12 people with capacity we’ll go for it.’ We then held our first meeting for anyone interested and 52 people came. We took that as a sign! After a month of having lunch in different people’s houses in September we started meeting in the basement of Jubilee Mill in October. Then in 2011 we moved into the Jubilee Centre where we are now.
Right from the word go we started our loving our community compassionately by opening a CAP Debt Centre in October 2009. Soon after this we launched a Trussell Trust Foodbank, a TLG Education Centre, a CAP Job Club and many other works. We have been privileged to have brought hope and help to thousands of Bradford residents, each one receiving a small expression of God’s love for them.
Amazingly the church was mostly led by volunteer leaders for the first 11 years, yet we saw the church grow, great kids and youth work get established and saw many come to faith and get baptised as the kingdom of God broke out in our midst.
In 2020 Matt Barlow stepped down from his role as CEO of Christians Against Poverty to step into full time leadership of the church, and the heart and the story continues, as we seek to love Bradford back to life, one life at a time.