Church opens doors in style with new look

OPEN CHURCH: Lawrence Calkin, Ray Wright, Margaret Smith, vicar of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding, Rev Peter Garland and Kyla Hull at the church's open day.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
OPEN CHURCH: Lawrence Calkin, Ray Wright, Margaret Smith, vicar of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding, Rev Peter Garland and Kyla Hull at the church's open day. Photo by Tim Wilson.

About 140 visitors from across South Holland came through the doors of the 140-year-old church on Saturday at the end of a project to transform St John’s into a building for the community.

TEA BREAK: Having a cuppa inside the newly re-ordered church are Vera and Kyla Hull with Sue Calder-Webb.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

TEA BREAK: Having a cuppa inside the newly re-ordered church are Vera and Kyla Hull with Sue Calder-Webb. Photo by Tim Wilson.

A large part of the work, including the removal of pews, lighting and heating system to be replaced by wooden chairs, hardwood floor, choir room and new meeting are, was funded by a legacy from former church member Peter Langford who died in 2010.

Churchwarden Ray Wright said: “The open day went very well and people were very impressed with the new layout of the church.

“We didn’t have any services, just a day where people could come in and we would take them around the church.

“People kept saying ‘you must be very proud to have a church like this’ and a retired vicar who came with his wife from Boston said that he’d like to come back and preach here, which made us very excited.”

People kept saying ‘you must be very proud to have a church like this’ which made us very excited.

Ray Wright, churchwarden of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding

St John’s has held services, including weddings, baptisms, christenings and funerals, since 1875 but after consultations with church leaders, members and the Diocese of Lincoln, it was decided to go ahead with a major refurbishment.

Rev Peter Garland, vicar of St John’s, said: “Over the last month, we’ve had a very large number of people visiting the church for Mothering Sunday, Holy Week and Easter services.

“The response has been extremely positive, both from our normal congregation, parents’ staff and children from St John the Baptist Primary School, as well as those attending christenings and funerals.

”Our first wedding in the newly refurbished church will be on Saturday and we have been helped by lots of people along the way.

JUNIOR CHURCH: Julie Pearse and her daughter Kaya take in the new interior of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

JUNIOR CHURCH: Julie Pearse and her daughter Kaya take in the new interior of St John the Baptist Church, Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson.

“The quality of the work by the contractors looks very good, the work has been a fantastic team effort and our re-ordering committee, led by church treasurer Lawrence Culkin, ensured that all our services could continue to take place.

“We owe them all a massive thank you in making our church and its new facilities available to the community as much as we can.”