MEMBERS of the congregation at an Oxford church have been joined by the Bishop of Oxford to praise the Lord following a £500,000 revamp.
St Luke’s Church in Canning Crescent off Abingdon Road has been officially reopened by the Bishop of Oxford after the refurbishment which transformed the building.
The project has renovated and extended the church, creating a space where different community groups can now meet.
The Right Rev John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford, officially reopened St Luke's
The Right Rev John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford, said: “I was delighted to be invited to open the new-look St Luke’s.
“This is an inspiring project that I have followed with great interest.
“I know it has taken a great deal of hard work, dedication and faith to get to this stage and I much look forward to celebrating with the whole church community.”
The project, which started in February, included installing a disabled ramp at the entrance, a chill out room, a larger, better-equipped kitchen, and disabled toilets, while the church’s garden has also been landscaped to improve its appearance and make it more user-friendly.
Funding came from several sources, including £100,000 from The Veolia Environmental Trust, the Youth Capital Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, St Aldate’s Charities and the Oxford Diocese New Builds Fund.
The church also received donations from the parish, local people and fundraising events such as a pig-themed summer fete and an eight-hour Paintathon.
Church minister Rev Jane Sherwood said: “It is fantastic that this long-hoped-for project is now complete and we are so grateful to Bishop Pritchard for taking the time to help celebrate it with us.
“It has been a long journey but it has been more than worthwhile.
“Thanks to the efforts of our congregation and local residents, and money from our funders, the whole community now has a comfortable, welcoming and flexible venue they can use and enjoy for many years to come.”
The church was used as a base for firefighters, Environment Agency officers and council workers while they fought the floods in Abingdon Road in January.
Rev Sherwood kept it open around the clock for them to take a break from pumping floodwater away from people's homes.
A musical interlude in the refurbished building
It is hoped that the refurbished building will now be used by groups for smaller, quieter activities such as arts and crafts sessions, homework clubs, IT training, and one-to-one support, as well as events and meetings of community groups.
Bishop John visited the church on Sunday where he performed a ceremony to officially open the new building.