Historic Chorley church once earmarked for demolition looks to the future following rebuilding project
A spectacular new stained glass window now adorns a Chorley church which has been turned into a community hub following a six month rebuilding project.
And not only is the window the focal point at historic Chorley United Reformed Church - but the building has been given the new name The Sanctuary.
The project has seen the floor levelled, pews removed, the pulpit repurposed and a new entrance, new heating, lighting, AV, internet and movable stage installed.
The new stained-glass window was funded by members of the Hollinshead Street church through their Saturday coffee morning.
Minister, Rev Martin Whiffen is overjoyed by the results.
He said; “The transformation is amazing.
"We have taken a building that could only be used for normal Sunday worship and have created a facility that can be used every day of the week”.
"To mark this change, for the first time the building has been given a name – The Sanctuary."
The name was chosen to reflect the multipurpose use of the building and to help distinguish it from the rest of the premises.
The church’s popular Repair Café will be one of the first users of The Sanctuary.
The larger space available will enable the Repair Cafe to reopen with social distancing and once lockdown ends, the extra space will enable it to expand.
Another user will be the church’s successful Café Church.
Currently it meets in the church’s Large Hall, but the additional space will allow them to offer additional activities and attract extra worshippers.
When The Sanctuary is not being used by the church, it will be available for use by any community group.
The room is flexible, warm, light and attractive and will be an ideal space for meetings, concerts and exhibitions.
Rev Whiffen is particularly keen to reach out to the business community.
He said: “Many people are now working from home and businesses are reducing their office space.
"With our excellent internet and AV facilities, The Sanctuary will be an ideal venue for businesses wanting to get their staff together for larger meetings or conferences.”
The project was carried out by Accrington firm, Rosslee Construction.
The Sanctuary will be open for visitors on Wednesday afternoons, Thursday mornings and evenings and Saturday mornings for two weeks beginning Wednesday, August 26.
More details are available from Rev Whiffen , email [email protected] or tel 01257 273222
Chorley URC, was founded in 1792 and is now one of the largest United Reformed Churches in the North West.
The congregation includes two choirs and a twelve strong puppet team.
In partnership with Chorley Help the Homeless, the church currently provides free meals each Wednesday and Thursday evening to anyone who wishes to attend.
The church was earmarked for demolition under Chorley Council's plans for the redevelopment of the town centre, which included the Market Walk extension.
But the plans were dropped - it was going to relocate to a new building on the Friday Street car park - and it is now staying at its present site.
Rev Whiffen explained: "The council withdrew from that. We went back to the original plan to redevelop the church and having done that the next phase we will be starting in the next twelve months is rebuilding the halls and meeting rooms along side the church."