Church milestone is in sight
WORSHIPPERS are close to completing a £1million nine-year project to overhaul their church.There has been fundraising, gifts, legacies and grants all helping make the dream a reality and the last stage of work, costing about £85,000, should be completed this year after enormous effort from Stowmarket's Salvation Army.
WORSHIPPERS are close to completing a £1million nine-year project to overhaul their church.
There has been fundraising, gifts, legacies and grants all helping make the dream a reality and the last stage of work, costing about £85,000, should be completed this year after enormous effort from Stowmarket's Salvation Army.
Around 1,000 people are attending a fundraising concert at the county's cathedral this weekend to help complete the project which included a new £240,000 worship hall, opened in 1995, and through the last nine years demolishing old church buildings and replacing them with state of the art facilities.
The plans for Stowmarket's Salvation Army involved the demolition of the existing pre-fabricated buildings at the rear of our Violet Hill Road site in the town.
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Worshippers felt the buildings had exceeded their normal life-span and needed to be replaced with modern buildings which could help their work within the community.
The project has created a kitchen complying with all current hygiene and safety legislation which can be used for a luncheon club; the Emergency Support Group, which regularly provides refreshments to the fire and other emergency services across all of Suffolk; and for other groups and activities.
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Youth and community halls, providing modern facilities for all types of youth and community work, have also been built as have ancillary rooms, general office and toilets.
The latest stage of the project creates a lounge and better link between the buildings and there will be a major fundraising concert "Songs of Joy" at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday from 7pm in order to raise more funds towards the building work.
Stowmarket's corps officer Major Keith Williams said: "What we've achieved so far is wonderful and will be a great service to the local community.
"And now we are very excited about the next phase of our building programme which will facilitate the community programme we anticipate developing during the next 12 months.
"Songs of Joy is one of a number of significant fundraising events that will help to make this possible.''
The first Salvation Army presence in Stowmarket came in 1886, and its first building was a factory in Union Street. Other premises followed in Tavern Street and Milton Road. It was from here that the corps moved to its present site in Violet Hill Road in 1966.
Each change of premises came about because of the growing and developing work of the local Salvation Army corps and the present plans seek to help it grow.
Today the corps is thriving, and reaches out to all age groups, and people of all backgrounds in the community, through common interest groups, a pensioners' club, parent and toddler group, an emergency response group and church services, which attracts 200 people on Sundays.
The Salvation Army is an international Christian church working in 109 countries worldwide. It has over 1.5 million members and 88,000 employees.
n "Songs of Joy" tickets, cost £8, are available on the door or in advance from 01449 613989.