Laying the foundations for the house of God

Scott Eastwood the Contracts Manager for Tyson lays the Foundation Stone watched by, from left, Rev. Keith Jarvis, Rev. Kevin Jones and Rev. Paul Davis
Scott Eastwood the Contracts Manager for Tyson lays the Foundation Stone watched by, from left, Rev. Keith Jarvis, Rev. Kevin Jones and Rev. Paul Davis
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It may be just one stone at the moment . . . but by next Easter it will be a whole church.

And as Rev Kevin Jones cemented the foundation block in place for the new Hesketh Bank Methodist Chapel, he blessed the foundations and gave thanks for the project which will revitalise a community.

Not only is the West Lancashire village getting a new church more than eight years after the old one closed, but it is also getting 14 new affordable homes into the bargain.

Housing association Regenda Homes is building the whole scheme after demolishing the original 78-year-old church in Chapel Road.

“Although local people may lament the loss of the old church it will be a joy to have a modern building which will be welcoming and more suited to present day worship,” said Rev Jones. “The stone-laying ceremony was both a blessing and a thanksgiving for the new start.”

The old Hesketh Bank Methodist Church closed its doors to worshippers in 2006. The congregation switched services to the church hall at the rear of the site, leaving the original chapel standing empty and neglected.

The church, built in 1938, was flattened earlier this year and planning permission sought for a scheme to include six new apartments for affordable rent and eight houses for shared ownership.

As part of the redevelopment a new village hall and café are also being built.

At the time that the application went before West Lancashire Council’s planning committee and the Charities Commission, Rev Jones said: “In the past the church has been a real hub for the community.

“As well as services it has held many Young Farmer’s meetings, ballet classes, nursery groups, our own youth groups, and one of our members even received an MBE there.

“But in the last three or four years we’ve not been able to serve the community they way we did in the past and many groups have gone elsewhere.”