And we’re open!

The Wokingham Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By PHIL CREIGHTON news@wok­ing­ham­pa­

Heavy rain didn’t dampen the smiles at Earley St Nico­las church on Satur­day. The Bishop of Read­ing, the Rt Revd An­drew Proud, cut the rib­bon to a new com­mu­nity cen­tre which will be used by lo­cal groups in­clud­ing Scouts, model clubs, a pre-school and char­i­ties.

A NEW com­mu­nity cen­tre is now open, thanks to an ice cream eat­ing bishop.

On Satur­day, the Bishop of Read­ing, the Rt Revd An­drew Proud was joined by hun­dreds of oth­ers for a short out­door ser­vice of ded­i­ca­tion.

And, as the old adage says, the show had to go on, de­spite the pour­ing rain: Bishop An­drew was cut­ting the rib­bon which would open the new build­ings and al­low ev­ery­one to get in­side.

Um­brel­las ready, res­i­dents, parish­ioners, coun­cil­lors, the Earley town mayor and vis­it­ing friends all gath­ered to take part in the ded­i­ca­tion.

Bishop An­drew spoke fondly of the ideas be­hind the new cen­tre, ex­plain­ing that its gen­e­sis came out of a gen­er­ous dona­tion left by church mem­ber Pat Drum­mer in her will. The church wanted to use the money wisely and, af­ter talk­ing to the com­mu­nity, felt that the new cen­tre was the best way for­ward.

It com­prises a large hall suit­able and three smaller ones, a cafe area and of­fice space and it is all linked to the church build­ings.

“This is turn­ing the church in­side out,” Bishop An­drew said. “I was talk­ing with the ar­chi­tect and he was ex­plain­ing the vi­sion: with this space God is say­ing [to the com­mu­nity] ‘I love you and care for you’.”

Groups that use the new St Nico­las cen­tre were on hand to meet with res­i­dents and re­cruit new mem­bers.

They in­cluded the 1st Earley Scouts, the church’s Moth­ers’ Union, Board Games Cafe and men’s curry club. There was also dis­plays from, among oth­ers, a Tai Chi group, a model mak­ing club and a pre-school.

Pic­tures: Phil Creighton

The Bishop of Read­ing, the Rt Revd An­drew Proud with the vicar of St Nico­las, the Revd Neil War­wick

Mar­i­anne War­wick and Esme Hayler from the Board Games Club were en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to join REIn­spired is one of the char­i­ties that St Nico­las helps

Above: 4Bones Quar­tet Left: 1st Earley Scouts were on hand

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