Church appeal for community help

THE congregation at a town s church are launching a fund raising drive to find �600,000 hoping to bring the building into the 21st century. Shefford Baptist Church was built in 1825 and is in desperate need of some repairs but it has become too small and

THE congregation at a town's church are launching a fund raising drive to find �600,000 hoping to bring the building into the 21st century.

Shefford Baptist Church was built in 1825 and is in desperate need of some repairs but it has become too small and more room is desperately needed to cope with youth clubs and other groups.

Church members are hoping to raise at least �270,000 on their own with the remainder coming from charities.

"The church has seen better days," said church building committee member Bob King.

"The church has a vision of reaching out to the community more, and being a resource for all in our growing town. Already there are groups using the premises that have no connection with the church at all.

"Sadly, though, there are limitations as to what can be done because of the layout of the rooms and lack of disabled access to the upper floor. We hope the whole community will support our efforts.

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"Shefford Baptist Church has been a community resource for a long time so we need the community to help us now."

Church pastor the Rev Steve Summerfield said: "This is a very daunting task. The church has served the people in the town for a long time.

"These changes are for the community. The amount we need to find is great but we have raised the bar very high because it is worth going for and there is great enthusiasm among parishioners to achieve our goal."

Church treasurer Andrew Johnson said at least �100,000 would be currently needed to make repairs to the church so members of the church committee felt it was better to improve and expand the church rather than keep making repairs.

"The church is over 150 years old and many things need doing like new heating and disabled access to upstairs rooms. But we need more space," said Mr Johnson.

"We are having formal plans drawn up and would like to extend the church on two sides as well as a number of walls removed.

"A lot will be happening during the coming year to raise funds and we hope the community of Shefford will support us.

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