June 20 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
A Norfolk baptist church targeted by arsonists three years ago is set to be recommissioned this Sunday following an extensive refurbishment.
Carleton Rode Baptist Church is set to be formally recommissioned following the completion of extensive rebuilding in the aftermath of the 2009 fire which gutted the 18th century church’s school room and storage area, as well as causing smoke damage to the chapel.
The devastating blaze meant worshippers, a Sunday school and the newly-formed Loft youth club could not use the building in the aftermath of the incident, but last year the church reopened with a newly-modernised chapel with movable seating instead of pews, while the stable block had been converted into a community coffee shop open three times a week.
The school room has also been revamped and after Easter, the church is hoping to be able to re-open The Loft youth club, which used to attract 70 children from surrounding villages.
Following the incident, morning services were conducted in village halls in Carleton Rode and Bunwell, although evening services were able to resume fairly soon after the incident.
The total cost of the refurbishment was expected to be in the region of £150,000 with insurance money and £30,000 donated by congregation members.
The work included a new office, kitchen and community rooms, as well as toilets and a patio area.
A number of dignitaries will be present for the recommissioning, including the Rev Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Richard Bacon, MP for south Norfolk and South Norfolk district councillor Beverley Spratt, who represents Carleton Rode.