Over the last few years, Ledbury Methodist’s 19th Century Methodist Chapel had become a millstone around the congregation’s neck. Unfit for purpose, in constant need of repairs and with continual rising and penetrating damp, it was sapping the finances and morale of this small congregation in rural Herefordshire. With catering limited to 24, the growing lunch club was turning people away, and the decision was made to sell up and refocus resources on developing people and mission.
With proceeds from the chapel sale, the church purchased a building in the town centre and raised additional funds to undertake reconfiguration. The building is accessible and close to parking; and it’s well-suited to the church’s plans to become a community hub and place of welcome, as much as a place of worship.
Funding new opportunities for mission and community outreach
Benefact Trust Methodist Grants Programme funding has helped reconfigure the building’s interior and purchase a screen and audio equipment for worship and to facilitate the regular family film group, which will resume when the church re-opens.
Among other developments to the church’s activities, is an extension of Ledbury Foodbank services and the church becoming a Herefordshire Talk community hub. There are a large number of Eastern European residents in Ledbury; originally arriving as seasonal fruit pickers, many have since moved to the area and there is a growing need to offer English language classes. The church also plans to expand its lunch club and film club to different age groups now it has the capacity to cater for more people.
Minister, Rev’d Phil Warrey, is relieved and proud at how the building works have been achieved through lockdown and is excited for the many new opportunities ahead:
“We’ve project managed the works ourselves, moving an office into the building until the works have been done. We can’t wait to open properly and have a real “Grand Opening” celebration! This grant has been amazing and enables us to expand our community activities and welcome many more people into our church.”