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The Grace Centre
When Grace Church purchased the building in 2003 a professional survey showed that there were numerous structural problems affecting the building due to poor maintenance over a long period of time. In particular there were severe problems with dampness and dry rot which, if left unchecked, would soon render the building unsafe.
Short-term measures were taken to control the spread of the dry rot, while a longer-term strategy was put in place to remedy the cause of the problems. Church members have generously given their time to do some of the more basic & labour-intensive jobs, and their money to raise funds for the bigger jobs requiring professional expertise. Funds have been supplemented by grants from bodies such as English Heritage and Veolia Environmental Trust.
In July 2007 the first phase of major restoration work was commenced with a budget of around £200,000, which was completed in February 2008. The chief elements of this were to renew the roof, guttering and drainage to the main church building.
In 2010 further restoration works were undertaken to the lounge, small hall and toilets, costing around £20,000. This completed the more urgent works, especially the eradication of dry rot from the entire building.
There is still a lot of less urgent work to be done that will take several years to complete, but we believe that the Grace Centre is a gift to us from God. Therefore, through whatever means, we are confident that he will provide all the finances that we need to complete these restoration works.
There is also another dimension to the restoration works that inspires us all the more. In 2003 a prophetic word was given to the church that, "The physical restoration of the Grace Centre is to be prophetic of the restoration that God wants to bring to the community around us." This is helping us to have faith that as we pray for and serve the community, God is at work restoring people's very lives through the power of the gospel.