Would Jesus be a gentrifier? How Christianity is embracing urban renewal

Stokes croft
Stokes Croft / © Rufus Cox/Getty Images

In the 1990s, the Bristol neighbourhood of Stokes Croft was a hub of unchecked creativity. The vast Victorian façades, many of which had been abandoned to the elements, were a ready-made canvas for street artists such as Banksy and Robert Del Naja (also known as 3D), who became household names. Sound systems piled into squats while the police turned a blind eye, fostering global stars such as Tricky and Massive Attack.

Two decades on, and Stokes Croft is increasingly home to artisan coffee shops, burger bars and craft ale pubs that signify urban modernity. The graffiti, once a marker of lawlessness, is now consigned to council-sanctioned tourist sites.

In this environment, the 123 Space, located halfway up the road of Stokes Croft, fits right in. It’s a creative venue for hire, hosting everything from art shows to coffee roastings. Its slate-grey exterior sits comfortably beside the multicoloured patchwork of high-street shopfronts. Inside, under the exposed timber and brickwork, is the Elemental Collective, a community grocery. There are no stained-glass windows and no tabernacle. Nothing marks it out as a church.

But every Thursday evening, its proprietors meet here to worship, where they stand in a circle and smile knowingly at one another: more yoga session than sermon. This is the LoveBristol church. Its members pursue idiosyncratic beliefs within a loose structure – a belief in prophecy, speaking in tongues, and the power of the Holy Spirit in instigating modern-day miracles. […]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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