New lease of life for church building after renovation

New Life Christian Centre Minister Mike Willis in the section of the building that has been renovated.
New Life Christian Centre Minister Mike Willis in the section of the building that has been renovated.

A Morpeth church has shown high ambition with its revamp.

For the first time since work started 12 months ago, the New Life Christian Centre congregation were able to enjoy a Sunday service in the main section of the 116-year-old building four days ago.

The project, which has cost about £150,000, involved removing decades-old ceiling tiles to reveal the impressive roof beams and the full height of the 12ft to 15ft windows.

Essential work to repair cracks in the fabric of the Dacre Street building has been carried out, new lighting and underfloor heating has been installed and there has been some investment in new hi-tech kit, including a state-of-the-art HD projector and screen and PA system.

Worshipers met in its back hall during the work and although they were encouraged to view the changes as they progressed when it was safe to do so, Minister Mike Willis said some were moved to tears of joy when they saw it finished for the first time on Sunday.

He added: “We knew the situation with the cracks had to be addressed and once we found that it was worse than we first thought, it would have cost about the same to put the suspended ceiling back in, so we decided to go ahead with the renovation.

“The result is better than I could have possibly hoped for – it looks amazing. The contractors have done an excellent job.

“We’ve been able to embrace the Victorian architecture of the building and purchase some modern technology to improve our services. I’m very excited about what we are able to offer our congregation and the community.”

Mr Willis’ initial ideas for uses include a Saturday morning cinema, concerts, corporate hires and comedy nights (comedy magician John Archer has already been booked for next month).

The renovated section of the building will be officially opened by Ian Lavery MP on Saturday. Residents are invited to see the transformation at the Saturday evening service, which starts at 7.30pm.