The grand opening of Thornton Heath Evangelical Church’s (THEC) building took place on the 18-19 May, in its 125th anniversary year.
Pastor Gordon Bull cut the tape and 90-year-old former pastor Harry Waite prayed for blessing on the church. A service followed, attended by over 300 people from all over the UK and as far away as Burkina Faso.
The church gathered to give thanks for answered prayer and God’s hand of blessing during the building project. The £1.35 million project involved fully refurbishing the church and building a two storey extension.
The service began with a new hymn, written for the occasion by Simoney Girard (see p.25). Eddie Powell reviewed the church’s remarkable history and a synopsis was provided in a colour brochure.
Peter Dunn, an elder, outlined what the church had stood for over the past 50 years. He said that a strong commitment to the gospel and expository preaching had built up the church.
He commended the late church secretary Barrie Llewellin, who, sadly, had passed away before it was completed. Ian Whybrow gave an illustrated report, also highlighting the role of Barrie Llewellin, along with the building committee.
He said that architect Peter Brocklesby had designed a building fit for purpose. An atrium joins the front and rear of the church and there is a book room in one of the attractive glass facades.
The church is clearly visible and strategically placed on the A23 London Road. The project has created local interest, with some new families attending the church services.
The sermon was given by Rev. Irving Steggles, of Birchleigh Baptist Church, South Africa, and Chairman of London Theological Seminary. He spoke from 1 Peter 1:22–2:12 on the ‘Real building project’.
He compared the new building to God’s church, a spiritual and a living building. He said that the church of God is alive and always growing, with Christ as its corner stone.
A buffet meal followed the service, and a special cake was cut by Pastor Bull and senior member Joan Licence. Irving Steggles preached at the Sunday services and the children and young people of the church were presented with commemorative Bibles.
Pastor Steggles’ sermons are available on the THEC web site. The church looks looked forward to God’s guidance and blessing in the future. ‘To God be the glory, great things he has done’.