The first church service to be held in Trinity Methodist’s newly restored building attracted so many people that stewards had to run to fetch more bread and wine as crowds queued to receive Holy Communion.
Nearly 180 people, including newcomers, regular members and their families and friends, gathered to worship in the redeveloped modern multi-purpose space, which opened for the first time last Sunday, February 1st. It had been closed since last summer for a £400,000 refurbishment funded through grants, donations and various fundraising activities.
Minister Ian Humphreys led the service, which was almost full to capacity in the main body of the church downstairs, where the traditional pews have been replaced with modern movable seating. The theme of thanksgiving began with a rousing cheer and a round of applause for the work that had finally finished completion.
After an address to the children, Rev. Humphreys invited people with cameras to capture the landmark occasion with an unprecedented congregational “selfie”.
He said: “There’s been a real ‘wow’ from people who have had a look. I’m thrilled to see what you have all achieved, and not only was it a real thrill to welcome people into the church at our open day events, it was a thrill to see how thrilled you all were to see the response!
“It’s been brilliant to welcome people who have not been inside for years, members of different churches and those who live locally who’d heard about the redevelopment and just wanted a nosy!”
After taking part in their own Sunday school activities in the church hall, the children in Treasure Seekers returned to the service after the sermon, waving brightly coloured paper flags on which they had illustrated the words “God is Great!” The older children carried in a gold-covered cardboard box with angel wings which they had created in the shape of the Ark of the Covenant, containing paper scrolls on which they had written the words of the Ten Commandments. Leader Jean Robinson explained that they had been learning about the story of David.
Speaking after the service, Margaret Horner – who led the fundraising grants development team – said that it had been a wonderful service and remarked on the number of people in the congregation, which was well above an average weekly attendance.
Trinity is the latest church in Lancashire to remove its pews to create a modern, multi-purpose space for the whole community to use through the week. The “Grand Designs”-style modern makeover includes glass fronted doors, a new foyer space with meeting room and kitchen, bright airy décor, electric blinds and modern heating system.
More open events are planned so that the public can see inside the remarkable transformed space and suggest ways that it could be used for different activities for all ages. The church has also been reaching out to the community through Facebook and Twitter.
For more details about hiring the space through the week contact Jean or Stuart Robinson on 01200 424849 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more through the church’s website (www.clitheroemethodistcircuit.co.uk) or via Facebook (facebook.com/trinity.methodists) or Twitter (TrinityClithero).
A near capacity congregation flocked to the reopening of Trinity Methodist Church. Photo: David Butterworth