Red letter day as Portadown church re-opens after major refurbishment

Richard Burden


Richard Burden


Tuesday 28 June 2022 12:00

THE doors of Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church have reopened to welcome its local community again after a significant refurbishment project.

Originally built in 1954, the church has undergone a complete transformation. A new glazed screen and doors replace the old side doors leading visitors directly into the centre of the church creating a more welcoming and accessible entrance. Fixed pews have been replaced with movable seating allowing space for up to 200 people with the flexibility to arrange chairs to suit activities taking place. A state-of-the-art audio-visual system and enlarged stage have further improved the facilities available.

Upgraded heating and electrics will ensure the church is warm and well-lit and insulated ceilings and floors have improved its environmental rating.

Church member, Jim Bloomer, who managed the renovation project, said: “As a church we are committed to supporting local communities especially those struggling at this time. We know Covid19 was difficult and now with the cost of living crisis things are getting worse. Our church had become tired and its layout was no longer fit for purpose for a modern community-focused building.

“What we have now is a flexible space where we can worship as a church but also engage more with our local community. In the new space we will be able to support a range of activities from small group work to large meetings. It is also perfect for hosting social events, small conferences and training events, concerts or welcoming community groups.

“Groups like Cross Roads that have recently started meeting in our church buildings twice a month welcoming over 140 people for music, talks and fellowship.”

Much of the funding for the project was raised locally with congregation members and friends of the church giving generously. The church also successfully approached a number of grant giving bodies including Benefact Trust (previously Allchurches Trust).

Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Ireland at Benefact Trust, added: “The Trust was pleased to support this project through its Methodist Grants Programme that aims to enhance the mission and ministry of the Methodist church.

“Whilst this was a major refurbishment project it was clear that the church’s focus was as much about how the building could be used to support the congregation and wider community as about improving the facilities at the church. The upgraded facilities offer space that can be used flexibly supporting church growth, community engagement and improved accessibility.”

Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church, Portadown, has a history stretching back to 1869 when a wooden building, called the Tabernacle, was erected close to the current church site. The first Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church opened on the Carrickblacker Road site in January 1891.

Further building schemes saw construction of a larger church building on the site in 1954 leaving the previous church to be used as a hall, and in 1996 a large hall, cloakrooms, kitchen and classrooms were added with additional rooms built above the vestry and choir room.

Today, post Covid, the Sunday congregation is back to around 130 individuals on a regular basis with more accessing services via Facebook.

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