Celebration to mark opening of new church

The opening of the new Longton Community Church home in Ribbleton Lane/St Mary's Street North, Preston.

The opening of the new Longton Community Church home in Ribbleton Lane/St Mary's Street North, Preston.

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When many churches are closing their doors because of falling congregation numbers, one Preston church is experiencing the opposite - and has opened a new building to accommodate more worshippers.

More than 400 people regularly attend Crossgate Church - formerly Longton Community Church - which in 2015 was given the chance to take over the Landmark Building in Ribbleton Street, Preston, after years of rented accomodation.

The opening of the new Longton Community Church home in Ribbleton Lane/St Mary's Street North, Preston.

The opening of the new Longton Community Church home in Ribbleton Lane/St Mary's Street North, Preston.

Thanks to fund-raising, grants, donations from individuals and businesses, more than £400,000 has been raised to create a purpose-build 500-seater auditorium, with development still underway on a children’s centre, youth centre , chapel and cafe.

The church was officially pened on Saturday night, with guest speakers Father Timothy Lipscomb, vicar of Preston, Roy Crowne of Hope Together, and Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson.

Ron Farrington, senior pastor of Crossgate Church, said: “This has been built for the community, to help the community. It might take another two years to completely finish, and we didn’t want to wait that long to thank everyone.”

He added: “We are a modern church and the biggest percentage of people we welcome are people who have never been to church before, who want to see what it’s all about.”

The opening of the new Longton Community Church home in Ribbleton Lane/St Mary's Street North, Preston.

The opening of the new Longton Community Church home in Ribbleton Lane/St Mary's Street North, Preston.

The church also sees interest from people it helps through the Serve Our Community shop in Friargate, which helps people out of debt and onto recovery programmes.