Two big changes are afoot at Broadway Baptist Church in Douglas, the Isle of Man – The Well Café is closing after many years of serving customers, and Youth Pastor of 12 years Bill Platt is moving on.
The Well Café, one of several community initiatives running in Broadway’s Alpha Centre, will serve its last meals on Saturday 5 October. The Well has been a part of the Douglas café and bookshop scene for 25 years. However, as the cost of running a café continued to rise the church decided to close it to enable it to invest in new community initiatives.
'I have a mixture of feelings about The Well closing, ' said Broadway’s Church Secretary Ruth Douthwaite said. 'It is very sad to see the end of something which has been an important part of both the community and Broadway Baptist Church, and also the loss of the jobs of our Chef and Manager.
'In its time, The Well was an amazing initiative. But I’m also excited about the new doors that can open as this one closes. We want to serve the community around us in fresh and relevant ways.'
Another milestone for Broadway is the departure of full-time Youth Pastor, Bill Platt. Bill arrived at Broadway more than 12 years ago as part of the church’s commitment to invest in young people. During his time Bill has pioneered many successful youth programmes, including The Machine youth club, The Upper Room under-18s concert venue, Duke of Edinburgh, and several age-specific youth groups.
Bill built relationships of respect and trust with many young people and will be deeply missed, the church said in a statement. Until a new appointment is made, Broadway’s varied youth work will be carried on by Rosie Hesketh our youth Gap Worker, and a team of enthusiastic and well-trained volunteers.
Bill Leishman, the minister of Broadway Baptist Church, said, 'Bill Platt has been inspirational – he has invested himself in encouraging and developing so many young people.
'For many, Bill has helped them to discover and grow in a real and meaningful faith in God. It might be a bit less confusing to have two Bills working at Broadway, but I’ll miss him.'
He added that the closure of The Well and the loss of Bill will be 'big adjustments', but 'the heart of Broadway Baptist Church, however, remains unchanged and is summed up in its mission statement – a community living to make Jesus known'.
Broadway’s initiatives include First Steps (a parent and toddler group), well established youth and children’s work, and opportunities for people to find and grow in faith. Broadway hosts the drop-in of Graih - a charity for homeless people, several support groups and other community groups. One current initiative is the Alpha Course, starting on 6 October.
Tribute websites for The Well and Bill Platt have been set up: