'A flexible, modern space for both church and community'
After more than a year of construction, with delays, snags and complications, not to mention the pandemic, the new Annex and refurbished church building at Wellspring in Wirksworth is now complete, and a Big Well-come day for the community was held in early April. By Jenny Few
The event began with a trumpet fanfares on the steps of the 19th century main entrance, and in front of the new glass entrance door, courtesy of Methodist minister Tony Wells, and the building was declared open by Wellspring’s Baptist minister Kevin Price. The most oft-used word from the several hundred visitors from the local community and further afield was ‘Wow’ - who would have imagined that something as exciting as this could be built in that space?
Wellspring is a Baptist/Methodist LEP formed in 2014, and part of the founding vision was to build on the small yard at the back of the Methodist building, Wellspring’s home. The original chapel consisted of a large downstairs hall with a small kitchen and toilets, and an upstairs sanctuary, approached via the daunting steps to the main doors or a small uninviting door at the side. It was limited both in appeal and use, and we wanted to provide flexible, modern space for both church and community. This has been achieved thanks to imaginative design, generous grants and gifts, and the skills and talents of several church members.
The new main entrance, linking new and old, is a glass atrium with a large automatic door, leading to an imposing staircase. The annex provides a splendid kitchen and coffee bar area, a much improved large hall, a first floor meeting room and a second floor office and storage space.
At the Big Well-come, visitors were able to see the potential of the building and there were many conversations about future lettings. In the downstairs hall people were encouraged to join in craft activities and a children’s play area, or sit and enjoy coffee, served from the adjoining kitchen.
Upstairs, the smaller meeting room showed its potential use as a quiet space, with a prayer corner, inviting people to write their prayer concerns and to light a candle. It is hoped the room will also be used by smaller groups and for business meetings.
A display showing scenes from the history of both the Methodist and Baptist churches, and of Wellspring’s first years provided a lively talking point.
In the worship area, linked to the first floor landing by large glass doors, a small singing group gave a musical background to a scrolling power point showing photos of the building project. The impressive staircase showed off its excellent acoustics in an impromptu flashmob-style singing of the Peruvian Gloria!
The following day a service of dedication and thanksgiving was held. As Wellspring members get used to the new building, the consensus is that we are excited to offer this new facility to Wirksworth, and also to develop its potential for worship and mission in the months and years ahead.
Jenny Few, on behalf of Wellspring