MIDHURST Methodist Church is celebrating a new lease of life thanks to an £85,000 restoration project.
Body and Soul, the midweek ecumenical group, was the first to celebrate the project, which will allow the building to be used by members of the community and surrounding villages for various occasions.
Senior steward at the church, Sian Mitchell, said: “Midhurst Methodist Church has been at work in our town serving the community for well over 100 years.
“In recent times, we have become aware of the need to modernise our worship area, to make it more appropriate and useful for the 21st century.
“In September, work began with the removal of the pulpit and pews and the extension of the dais.
“New furniture, comfortable chairs and improved audio-visual facilities have all been installed. This gives the church much more flexibility, allowing it to be used for different forms of worship.
“We hope it will also become a community asset for Midhurst and the surrounding villages.
“The project has cost around £85,000, and a large proportion of this has come from members and friends of the church as well as fundraising activities.
“We are also very grateful for grants received from East Solent and Downs Methodist Circuit, Southampton District of the Methodist Church, Allchurches Trust Ltd, Beatrice Laing Trust, Midhurst Town Council, Midhurst Town Trust, and the Grange Association.
“There is still one aspect of the project outstanding – the replacing of the original church door, which can be seen from North Street, with an oak and glass door to match our main entrance.
“This will enable everyone to see into the church and, we hope, appreciate the warmth of our welcome.”
One of the first services in the new building was held in memory of Phillip Mitchell, a former Midhurst street sweeper who died recently. Phillip was awarded an MBE in 1994 for services to the community.
Methodist minister the Rev Jeanette Richardson added: “We want to invite other people from around the community into our church. We wanted to change the building so our worship could be adaptable and so people in the community could use the premises and the facilities.
“A huge amount of money was raised by the congregation, making gifts, alongside other church activities and support from the Methodist movement.”
The church is inviting the whole community along to the revamped premises on December 19.
From 10am-4pm members of the community are welcome to take a look, with coffee and cake supplied.