A Roffey church undergoing extensive renovations could be an ‘amazing’ community resource when it reopens at the turn of the year.
St Andrews Methodist Church in Crawley Road has been closed for refurbishment since March but on Monday September 22 the congregation were invited on-site for a ‘topping out’ ceremony to celebrate the completion of works to its roof.
Reverend Kath Jones, minister at St Andrews for the past seven years, explained that they had originally planned to just fix the leaking roof but felt they had a ‘chance to do something really big for the community’.
They hope building work will be completed in time for a community carol service at the end of the year.
She said: “As a congregation the first service we have in here I do not think there is going to be a dry eye. I think when its finished we will be blown away.”
She added: “It will be available for people to hire and rent out as a community resource. It’s going to be amazing.”
Plans include a cafe, computers and internet access for jobseekers and silver surfers clubs, a multi-purpose space for activities such as zumba, while they could also be an outlet for Horsham Churches Together’s foodbank.
In particular she thanked treasurer and trustee Terry Cullen and Graham Amphlett for their help and expertise throughout the project, Henfield Hire, and Harmen Construction.
The project has received assistance from West Sussex County Council’s Community Initiative Fund and Horsham District Council’s Think Family Neighbourhood Network Project, while the congregation set a target of fundraising 10 per cent of the costs themselves.
Rev Jones added: “They have worked so hard to raise money. They have put their heart and soul into it and I’m so proud of them.”
Originally opened as the Star Road Mission Hall primitive methodist chapel in 1877, the building underwent significant renovations in the 1920s and 1970s.
According to Christine Payne, who has been a member of St Andrews since 1983, the church, along with the workhouse, was a ‘central part of Roffey right from the start’. She expressed her delight at the uncovering of the circular window at the front of the church and added: “I think a lot of it will get a bit of getting used to it but changes happen.”
The church is currently meeting at Northholmes Junior School in Leith View Road on Sundays at 10am. All are welcome.