Date: 23 August 2018
I am sorry to have to tell you that our church building has been damaged by fire in the last few days. The main fire point was the front vestibule which is completely gutted. There is also damage to the main church area, but this seems to be confined to some of the ceiling and water damage to the floor. The vestry is also unusable at present.
The good news is that the fire is likely to have been caused by faulty wiring rather than a malicious act. It's likely too that a fire could have occurred at any time and we can praise God that it didn't happen when the church was full and that two people walking past called the fire brigade so that the spread was limited.
Thankfully the impact on the Annexe and Pre-school was minimal. However there is substantial smoke/fire damage to everything contained within the main church building, and the entrance /vestry are now boarded up for safety reasons.
We have begun working with the insurance company, and they will be sending in a team who will assess the damage and clean up everything that its possible to clean. Its hoped that any items that can't be recovered will be replaced. A structural survey will also need to happen and some building work in response to that.
All of this is going to take time, so the current plan is that the main church building is closed and all hiring stopped for at least a month (excepting pre-school).
The Annexe will be closed to events other than Sunday worship for the next couple of weeks, and then we will review the situation.
In the longer term, we anticipate that the annexe will become our place of worship on a Sunday, and that the garden room will be used for storage. Adventurers will take place in the Portakabin.
Tonight (23rd Aug) there will be a short prayer meeting outside of Church at 8pm. All are welcome! If you cannot attend, please join with us in prayer from wherever you are.
And this coming Sunday (26th Aug) we have the opportunity to gather outside on the green to offer our thanks and praise. It's hoped that this will demonstrate to the community that there continues to be a Christian presence in Chelmer Village and Chancellor Park, despite what has happened. And we hope that Bishop Stephen will be preaching!
So invite your neighbours, bring your fold chairs or picnic blankets if you have them, and come and rejoice in our God who is Good - All the time!
Please continue to pray for those who are working with the insurers etc. so that our church can become fully functional once more.
If you would like to chat with me about anything that is going on, feel free to ring me and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.
May you know God's peace and His blessing.
Rev. Mandy Hewson