A FUNDRAISING wheelbarrow race and a visit from the mayor made a groundbreaking service extra special.
Members of Earley St Nicolas church in Sutcliffe Avenue gathered in the church’s gardens to mark the start of building works of its new community centre.
Earley Town Mayor Cllr Mark Firmarger was joined by the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, in digging into ground that will be the home for the new centre, which will be connected to the church.
The Revd Neil Warwick, the church’s vicar, led the short service of thanksgiving, and was excited that the work of the new centre will benefit the community.
“It’s going to be awesome,” he said.
Cllr Firmager added: “It will be of great benefit to the local community.”
And the Bishop of Reading said: “This is making concrete a reality that has been in your hearts for a long time.”
He added that the work reminded him of the way in which churches operated in Ethiopia, where he used to minister.
“God is turning [our buildings] inside out. We’re building a place where God’s glory flows out into the community around us.
“It gives us great joy.”
As The Wokingham Paper revealed last week, a large legacy has given the church the opportunity to create the facility which will enhance the way in which it can support the immediate neighbourhood.
The church is busy raising funds to meet the remaining expenditure and an easy £100 was made on Sunday – 10 members of the congregation stumped up £10 each to encourage Bishop Andrew to push Mr Warwick in a wheelbarrow.
After the ceremony, guests could enjoy a glass of prosecco before a shared lunch.