Village project to build a church

At a time when many churches are closing and others face dwindling congregations, one village is bucking the trend and is set to build a new place of worship.

At a time when many churches are closing and others face dwindling congregations, one village is bucking the trend and is set to build a new place of worship.

Plans are in the pipeline to build a joint Anglican and Methodist church in the Fenland village of Benwick, near March.

There has not been a parish church in the village for more than 20 years and the Metho-dist chapel closed in 2005.

Currently, church services are held in the side room of the village hall, and weddings, christenings and funerals have to be held in Doddington five miles away.

But there is a hope that all that will change now that a planning application has been submitted to Fenland Council for the new church on the site of the former Baptist church in Benwick.

The church will cost around £450,000 to build and work could start as early as next year, if planners approve the application, and the remaining funds are secured.

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The Rev Glenn Coggins, Rector of Doddington, Ben-wick and Wimblington, said: “Benwick is a growing and thriving village. It has a post office, pub, village hall and school and it has a real sense of identity and community, and when we held questionnaires people said they wanted a church building as well.”

John Hoffman, chairman of the Friends of Benwick Church, said: “We still need to raise around £100,000 for the church and we really need people to come forward and support us either financially or with ideas.

The church will be of traditional oak and has been designed by architects from Archimage. Partner Shona McKay said: “Our intention is that once you enter the church it will be breathtaking.”

To make a donation write to Mr Hoffman at Lilyholt, Lodge Road, Benwick, PE15 OXQ, or call 01354 677878.