St Mary’s Church, Ferndown celebrated the official opening by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, of its new Beacon Centre on Saturday 3 October.
Hundreds of people attended, including the Mayor of Ferndown, Cllr Mrs Julie Robinson and the Chairman of East Dorset District Council, Cllr Steven Lugg and his wife, Cllr Cathy Lugg.
The spectacular building, which blends tastefully into the existing church, has taken 15 years to come together. It provides a welcoming hall foyer, a new side room for church, community and commercial use, and a new church foyer with provision for a community café.
The Bishop of Salisbury officially cut the ribbon. He said, “This is a wonderful facility to open. It’s absolutely the heartbeat of what the church is for.”
He read verses from Psalm 127 and gave thanks for the new Beacon Centre before blessing the building and those coming in and going out.
The Vicar of St Mary’s and Hampreston, Sarah Pix said, “It’s been a long journey. Today is a great day of celebration and joy for us. It’s the product of many years work.”
She thanked everyone involved in the project including the architect, the building firm, the project manager, the trusts that donated generously, the staff team and Tracey Nicholls, St Mary’s operations manager and all the members of St Mary’s.
Live music, fun activities and free refreshments formed part of the day’s celebrations with over 700 rolls being filled at the hog roast for families to enjoy. Children were thrilled with the continuous miniature train rides in the car park and Gugge 2000 bashed out the tunes. Those taking time out to visit the church found stunning flower arrangements to admire.
Stella Bastin who worships at the church said, “I think it’s excellent. Everyone has worked so hard. St Mary’s is a very active and lively church and all are welcome.”
And Dianne Partridge who has been a member of the church all her life, apart from a few years when she lived out of Dorset, said she thought The Beacon was “wonderful. The Saturday afternoon Lighthouse Club can now be extended. It’s open to anyone.”
Church warden Cliff Trudgett said, “The whole thing has been fantastic and we’ve had so many new people come in today. That is what it’s all about.”
Following the cutting of the cake by the Bishop and the Vicar, visitors enjoyed tea and cake in the hall.
The community café will be opening on 7 December.
For more information about The Beacon and future events at the church call 01202 897087 or visit www.stmarys-ferndown.org.uk