A large crowd assembled in 1886 for a stone laying ceremony for a Spalding chapel.
A hundred and twenty nine years later an equally large crowd gathered for the re-opening of that place of worship – Broad Street Methodist Church – following a major refurbishment project.
Among those who filled the church – in its new upholstered chairs as well as in the upstairs gallery – were current and former worshippers, past ministers as well as the current superintendent minister Alan Barker, and members of the team that dreamt up the project, Vision21.
There were the great and the good – MP John Hayes and his wife Susan, and South Holland District Council chairman Coun Francis Biggadike and his wife Freda – as well as ordinary people whose lives have been touched by the church from their earliest days.
One of these was Lynnette Enser who went to Sunday School and youth club, married and now attends a weekly exercise class for over 60s – all at the church.
She admits she was sad when she heard the building was being altered and that most of the pews were being removed – a few have been retained at each side of the worship area.
However, Lynnette admitted: “We have to move with times and I was excited to see the brand new church.”
Welcoming everyone to the rededication service, the Rev Barker said the transformation of this “special place” meant it was “better able to serve the spiritual and social needs of Spalding in this and future generations.”
Chairman of the steering group of Vision21 David Baldwin thanked everyone involved in the project, adding: “We are really grateful to the congregation who grasped the vision and were willing to take a step forward in faith to bring it about.”
Committee member Bryn Chappell described the work involved in the £600,000-plus project so far. Changes include exterior work, new entrance doors and a new coffee lounge with kitchen area.
Bryn paid tribute to the quality of the original Victorian craftsmanship.
He said: “I hope we have been true to that legacy with what we have done here and generations that follow say we did a good job too.”