Spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion for Christchurch...

Loughborough Echo - - SHEPSHED SCENE - PETE WAR­RING­TON peter.war­ring­ton@reach­plc.com

CHRISTCHURCH Methodist is stag­ing a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion on Sun­day (May 20) to mark the fact the church has cleared the cost of an am­bi­tious £380,000 project to re­fur­bish the premises in Field Street.

The project was called A4A (Ac­cess for All) and in­volved a ren­o­va­tion which en­sured the build­ing was de­signed for the needs of all.

Peter Wood, of the Chirstchurch Prop­erty com­mit­tee said it was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in the long his­tory of Method­ism in Shep­shed.

“The A4A project has been com­pleted, done and dusted, built and paid for. Now A4A will con­tinue, spir­i­tu­ally, of­fer­ing a warm wel­come to every­one in Shep­shed to use, en­joy, and find fel­low­ship and com­fort in our adapted build­ing de­signed for the needs of all.”

The seeds of the A4A project were sown more than 20 years ago when the Church prop­erty com­mit­tee started to con­sider how to up­date the premises - the pos­si­bil­ity of de­mol­ish­ment and build­ing new was an op­tion thought through and re­jected.

In 2006, the church be­came aware that Le­ices­ter­shire County Coun­cil was look­ing for premises for a day cen­tre and made the of­fer of Christchurch. The space avail­able wasn’t suit­able but it trig­gered phase one of the build­ing up­date and a £150,000 scheme which saw a cof­fee bar, vestry, guild room and pri­mary com­bined into one large area with a level en­try through pa­tio doors in the east wall. The day cen­tre moved in, adopted the name “New Fields” and stayed for nine years.

The next few years saw the de­tail de­vel­op­ment of plans for phase 2, com­pris­ing the ma­jor re­arrange­ment of the rest of the build­ing to pro­vide the un­ob­structed ac­cess and three sep­a­rate self-con­tained ar­eas cur­rently in place. At the same time the church sought to re­place pews with chairs to cre­ate flex­i­bil­ity in the wor­ship area. The £15,000 cost was met chair by chair by church mem­bers along with a gen­er­ous do­na­tion from a once very ac­tive church leader.

Af­ter count­less fund-rais­ing ini­tia­tives and lots of grant ap­pli­ca­tion funds were se­cured in 2014 and ap­proval for work to be­gin was given by the Church Coun­cil. An un­ex­pected de­lay af­ter the orig­i­nal con­trac­tor pulled out, saw work fi­nal be­gin in Oc­to­ber 2015 and com­pleted in May 2016, fi­nanced by money do­nated, grants from Methodist de­part­ments, ex­ter­nal grants and in­ter­est free loans from church mem­bers and oth­ers.

Mr Wood added: “So here we are in May 2018 just two years af­ter com­ple­tion and our joy­ful reded­i­ca­tion, with the debt cleared. Enor­mous thanks are due to all those who have worked so en­er­get­i­cally to raise funds and to oth­ers, who have given gen­er­ously in or­der to see the church debt free.”

The Cel­e­bra­tion will be­gin at 10.45am on Sun­day, with an All Age Morn­ing Ser­vice in­clud­ing a Fam­ily Communion, fol­lowed by a Faith Lunch.

The new en­trance porch at Chirstchurch Methodist church in Shep­shed, where the new lift was in­stalled al­low­ing easy ac­cess to the up­per floor.

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