The development of a new hall at Whitehead Methodist Church was a “truly local enterprise”, a local minister has said.
The keys to the building were officially handed over at the Balmoral Avenue premises last week.
It follows four years of intensive fundraising efforts by church members and the local community, ranging from soup lunches to sponsored abseils.
The annual Victorian Fair in the town also generated thousands towards the project.
To be known as the Dobson-Girvan Hall, the extension pays tribute to two of its main benefactors, Peggy Dobson and Vera Girvan.
“A truly local enterprise, the architect was Whitehead native Martin Walkington, whose elegant design almost seamlessly blends the exciting new hall complex with the Arts and Crafts style original church building, completed in 1900,” said Rev Gary Millar of Whitehead Methodist.
“Comprising a main hall, state-of-the-art kitchen, several meeting rooms and the requisite facilities for a 21st century congregation, the hall will be an asset to our work for generations to come.
“Our first official event will be the annual M&Ms Sale on Saturday, June 4 from 10.30am until 3.00pm.
“The M&Ms are an informal group of men from the church family who get together monthly around a cooked breakfast, and invite a speaker to address them – they are also an essential part of our ‘behind the scenes’ team who keep the church operational day to day.”
The sale will consist of stalls offering baked goods, ‘salvage yard’ bargains, nearly new household items along with tea/coffee and tasty treats. Admission is free; proceeds of all sales will go to the ongoing building fund.
“The building has been a labour of love, led by God, and provided for by the generous gifts of a number of local individuals and church members as well as fundraising by members of the church family from the Sunday School to the oldest of our members,” Rev Millar added. “We have also been greatly assisted by a number of national funding bodies such as The Rank Trust, National Churches Trust, Garfield Weston, Allchurches Trust and The Crowe Trust. This has also been a story of community support as many of us can testify. Thanks to such generosity, the members have only a relatively minor sum outstanding on such a major investment in the future of our town.
“We look forward to whatever God has in store for us in the next chapter of the life of Whitehead Methodist Church; our new premises are the first step into that future.”
An official dedication and opening ceremony will take place later in the year.