History of St Lawrence Church Centre
St Lawrence Church Centre celebrated its 50th birthday in 2001. Built in the 1950s, St. Lawrence was created from funds collected by the local community and supplemented with financial help from the PCC.
It doubled as a church and a community hall. During the 1970s attendance dwindled to such an extent that the church eventually ceased to be a venue for church services, although it continued to be used by local community groups.
In the early 1980s the church was open for services again. This was on a one-service-a-month basis. It was at this time that a need was identified to provide some sort of children’s activities for those living in the area. A group of dedicated Christians transferred their allegiance to St Lawrence in order to provide activities for Primary school aged children on the other three Sundays in each month.
Only a few were expected at the first sessions but all were exceedingly pleased when over twenty-five children appeared on the doorstep! Activities were lively, with plenty of music and practical activities as well as Bible teaching. Many of the children who first attended these sessions are now grown up with their own families and still live in the area.
When St Lawrence’s children joined a combined Sunday School outing, they needed a whole coach to themselves for as the decade ended and the 1990s began, there were over sixty children regularly attending. Parties, discos, music and drama continued until Sunday sport began and the shops were allowed to open on Sundays too. The attraction of sport was too much for some and numbers began to fall.
Together with this successful work was an experiment with family worship. The one service a month was expanded to attract the children’s families and St. Lawrence was regularly packed with worshippers, especially on special occasions like Mothering Sunday, Easter, Harvest and the Christmas Carol Service.
Many kind worshippers donated candle sticks, a wooden cross, a lectern, Bible and money to enable complete decoration throughout. In recent years funds continue to come in to ensure St Lawrence continues to develop. Behind folding doors is the altar, an area blessed by the Bishop. This area can be separated from the remaining hall so that secular activities can take place.
A new entrance with welcoming glass doors allows disabled people easily to access the services and weekly activities. A disabled toilet has been built and there are plans to extend the church to provide additional meeting rooms. Currently the hall is a popular place for children’s parties, adult education groups, keep-fit, coffee mornings and bring-and-buy sales.