Bishop to mark completion of work at Norwich church

The Bishop of Norwich will be holding a service of re-dedication to mark the official opening of a newly-renovated church in Heartsease next week.

The Rt Reverend Graham James will attend St Francis Church on Rider Haggard Road in Heartsease next Thursday, March 3, after the completion of the �65,000 project.

The renovation has involved remodelling the church's main area, fitting a new insulated roof and filling its walls with cavity insulation. The pews have been removed and replaced with normal chairs, a new carpet laid and the outside of the church has been repainted.

Community groups and parishioners have been enjoying the new space since December but the visit will mark the official completion of the work.

Funding for the remodelling work came from several organisations, including grants of �15,000 from the Geoffrey Watling Trust and the Norwich Diocese Mission Fund, �5,000 from the Norfolk Churches Trust, and �25,000 from The Veolia Environmental Trust, made through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Vicar of St Francis, the Reverend Canon Peter Howard, said: 'We are grateful to the Bishop for agreeing to help us celebrate the hard work of everyone who has been involved in the project.

'It is fantastic to see the difference the renovation has made to the church, and how it has created a wonderful venue where the local community can meet.'

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The renovation is the realised vision of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) stimulated by the Dioceses 'Committed to Growth' initiative, and incorporates ideas and suggestions from local residents.

The PCC planned and fund raised for the change, encouraged by two bequests from church members and a gift day in the community, to provide a more flexible, energy efficient space for use by various groups, as well as an improved venue and atmosphere for worship.

The executive director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Margaret Cobbold, added: 'The Trust works to support community and environmental projects across the country.

'We were happy to be able to help the PCC to renovate the church to provide this new community space which I hope will serve the needs of the local community for many years to come.'

The service is due to get started at 7.30pm and discussions for the future of the church will follow with refreshments afterwards.