Work starts on extension at growing Ipswich church
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Work has started on a new development at a growing Ipswich church which has seen its congregation increase in recent years after major housing projects were completed.
Abacus Build (UK) Ltd broke the ground at the Shepherd Drive Baptist Church in Labernum Close on Monday, September 13 after parishioners raised some of the £403,000 needed for the work and agent fees.
Several large housing developments have been built in the Pinewood area with more houses set at Wolsey Grange and Belstead Meadows.
This has attracted more people to the church in recent years, which started preparation work to expand five years ago.
They have undertaken extensive outreach work in the community, with between 70 and 100 people attending their toddler group, while their school youth clubs and women's coffee and craft group are well attended. The church also has a men's volleyball team and senior moments group.
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Simon Robinson, minister at the Shepherd Drive Baptist Church, added with a caveat that their growing congregation was also down to God wishing them to expand.
He said: “Ipswich has a number of good growing churches and we are so grateful that churches are growing.
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"It's been a very difficult time for churches [with Covid] and it really felt uplifting with the restoration of activities and services.
"This development will help us hold carol services and there will be space for refreshments when we hold events."
The development will see two new annexes added to the existing church building for a hall and a store to allow the Pinewood church to accommodate its growing number of parishioners.
The new hall is to enable the new building to operate independently from the existing church, enabling two groups to use it at the same time.
Finance for the work and agent fees has been raised through the generosity of church members, a total of £126,000, with the rest of the money coming from Grace Baptist Trust Corporation, Grace Baptist Association (East Anglia), Garfield Weston Foundation, Babergh District Council, Allchurches Trust, the Lord Belstead Charitable Trust, the Beatrice Laing Trust and Ipswich Borough Council.
Mr Robinson added: "We are so grateful for all who have generously given to make this building project possible and thankful to God that we are now able to move forward."