New church opened in Westward Ho!

HUNDREDS turned up for the official opening of an impressive new building in the centre of Westward Ho! on Saturday – its Baptist Church.

Children took a central role in the celebration, gathering outside before opening the doors to lead adults into the building for a plaque unveiling ceremony.

Young George Jefferies, seven, was chosen to perform the unveiling after having shown particular interest as the building works progressed over the previous 12 months.

This, said the minister Rev Steve Robinson, was a reflection that the church was not just about this generation, but also those to come.

Young people also performed a drama production telling the story of the vision and building of the new church.

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Throughout this week there are a variety of celebration activities in the new church involving some of the many groups using what is also a multi-purpose community hall, which will be in use most days of the week.

The �700,000 project, which has seen the new church take shape in the car park of the existing Baptist Church Hall, has been five years in the planning and 12 months in the building.

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It has been necessary to meet the needs of a church which had outgrown its former more than 100-years-old building just a stone’s throw away.

The new structure features three entrances, but with its main frontage facing directly into the village. It is fully disabled compliant in its access and facilities.

Features include a main hall capable of holding 300 people, with its baptism pool beneath a central part of the flooring. There is modern audio and visual equipment, including speakers, lighting and rear sound desk. There is a fitted kitchen, disabled toilets, vestry and other ancilliary rooms.

The church hall abutting the new church will be the next for attention, with refurbishment now planned.

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