A number of years ago, a group of Christians felt that God was calling them to form a mission community within Belfast City Centre. We were drawn from a range of denominational backgrounds. We believed there was a need to explain, teach and apply the Gospel in a way relevant to a city context.
From 2012, we began meeting weekly in Urban Soul, May Street to reflect on Scripture and pray for God’s will. We called that initial group The Underground (largely because we met in a basement). We also connected with groups who specialise in reaching urban city centres, and this led to affiliation with and training from Redeemer City to City (CTC) a global church planting movement started by Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York. We became increasingly convinced that God was leading us to a particular area of Belfast – the Cathedral Quarter including Smithfield and Union and Bank Square – and in Spring 2015 we moved The Underground to a new location in Clements’ Coffee, Rosemary Street.
In Autumn 2015 we changed the name of The Underground to Centre Church, Belfast and have since moved our Sunday gathering to the the Bank Square area in the heart of Belfast city centre; meeting in Centre Church, Berry Street / Chapel Lane, Belfast from 4pm.
We are currently preparing to launch the church in the near future.
The Centre Church team is led by Lee Eagleson. Ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland he has served the church in suburban East and North Belfast. He began to consider how the church might repopulate city centre areas where people were disconnecting from it. No structure for such a ministry was available. As a result, he was involved in the formation of Urban Mission Initiatives (UMI) – a charity that would resource urban church planting in Belfast.
In 2012, he was trained by Redeemer City to City in New York, attending their ‘International Intensive’ for global church planters. Lee also finished a PhD in 2014 on Church Planting. He is passionate about cities, leadership and the arts and appreciates a well-brewed cup of coffee.
Lee purposefully remains without a “normal congregation” (as a ‘Minister without Charge’) to fulfil the vision of Centre Church and UMI. He remains in connection with the Presbyterian Church because he believes Ireland can only be reached by both new churches and denominations working together.
We are Members of:
Urban Mission Initiatives
Urban Mission Initiatives is the charity formed to oversee the church plant in Belfast that became Centre Church. It exists to provide good stewardship of finance, allow activities to be scrutinised by trusted and wise Christian advisers alongside public bodies, and provide a means to plant, revitalise or aid future churches in Belfast.
Redeemer City to City
Redeemer City to City is a leadership development organisation founded by Timothy Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York. Their mission is to help leaders build gospel movements in cities and they have a vision for a world-changing, city-renewing, gospel-centred global church. Centre Church is a member church of this network.
We Partner in Ministry with:
Crown Jesus Ministries
Crown Jesus Ministries is organisation committed to evangelism in Ireland, communicating the message of Jesus in a real and relevant way. Centre Church’s lead planter, Lee Eagleson, works with Mitch in CJM to facilitate a Prayer Room (alongside conversations and prayer on the streets) on Thursday afternoons in Chapel Lane.
Nightlight is a night ministry that works around the entertainment areas of Belfast including the Golden Mile, the Cathedral Quarter and the Odyssey complex. Centre Church’s lead planter, Lee Eagleson has volunteered with Nightlight for many years, and we plan to work alongside them in the future.
What we do
We meet regularly to worship, learn, pray, have fun and do life together. This includes our weekly Sunday meetings at 4pm at Centre Church, Berry Street / Chapel Lane, Belfast (tea and coffee beforehand).
However, there's more to church than just Sundays, so we continue our church life together by meeting throughout the week. We have Bible studies, book club and movie nights to name a few of our other activities.
We are open to church community life being something that you can belong to before you enter a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We welcome people to come and investigate Christianity with us without any obligation to believe but our ultimate desire is that all would come to follow Jesus.
We follow a simple approach to living out the Christian faith, with an emphasis on the Gospel, community and worship. To learn more about our values click here.
WHY WE DO IT
We love God; We love People.
Our longing is to make God evident to people by the witness of the church. We dream of people knowing God's love by our community loving others as radically as Jesus did. We want to build a church which welcomes all those wanting to know more about Christ and is open to answering the big questions that people have.
While we have various activities and gatherings, for the Christians among us, we want Jesus to be the centre of all we do. We believe God is not just for us, but for everyone in the city of Belfast and beyond.
We love Belfast.
We describe Centre Church as a “city-oriented” church; our vision is deeply committed to the idea of serving the city. We love Belfast and think it is an amazing city to live and work in. It is small in world population terms but that small size means you meet people who know people you know. A small size means you can rapidly travel to beautiful scenery outside the city limits. This city seems to repeatedly top polls of the happiest place to live in the UK and we believe it!
While Belfast’s past has all sorts of strife, its population is hopeful! Political agreements, new investment, jobs, tourists in the city and leading world events have brought a sense of expectancy. The city is a cultural and arts hub; it’s a developing centre for film and television with significant BBC and HBO series filmed in the city. The city has many famous sons and daughters in sport, music, TV and film. This optimism is only increased by Belfast’s youthfulness; 42% of Belfast are under the age of thirty.
In Centre Church we too feel this spirit and yet we recognise that ultimately such hope must be built around loving God and loving people. We want to model that to our city.
If you want to understand some of why cities are such an important part of our thinking please click here.
If you want to understand the importance of a church in Belfast click here.