A service of celebration was held at Emmanuel Church marking the twenty year anniversary after its doors were re-opened.
A devastating fire had reduced the former church to ruins leaving the congregation temporarily without a place of worship.
The service was led by Rev. Richard Hare who said afterwards: “We held a week of celebrations and were delighted to welcome friends old and new.”
A display of old photographs and newspaper cuttings in the church foyer brought back bitter-sweet memories for many. A huge fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday 22nd August 1995, with over 70 fire fighters tackling the major blaze. The vicar at the time, Rev Malcom Exley, was on the scene in seconds and recalled his ‘total and utter devastation.”
However, out of the ashes of the old church a stunning new building rose. Under the vision of Rev Exley the distinctive wave-shaped roof and seaside themed interior décor was planned, built and then opened in December 1998.
Said Rev Hare: The church looks very different from its predecessor, and has proved an instant hit with parishioners old and young. We look forward to the next twenty years and beyond.”
“We’re so grateful to the people who worked so hard to build this new church on the site of the old one, and are delighted that it serves the local community by hosting so many local clubs, activities and events – from NHS clinics and singing groups to children’s parties and meals for homeless people” added Rev Hare.