England Church Opens After 20 Years of Prayer and Funding

( [email protected] ) Jan 17, 2004 01:34 PM EST

After twenty years of prayer and fundraising, 60 devoted Parishioners in Kinmel Bay, England opened the doors to their new Community Church.

"People have said to us 'We've watched that building go up brick by brick and a lot of folk are coming along,’” said Dr. Eric Coulton, who worked in Kinmel Bay since 1976.

According to Dr. Coulton, it took the congregation at Kinmel Bay Church two decades to raise the £300,000 ($543,000) needed to build the new church at the heart of their community.

"It's been raised through a combination of people committed to the gospel and people giving out of their own pockets," he said. "It's been mainly through personal contribution although in the late 80s interest rates were so high, we had more money. "We're always amazed by how people have responded.”

Currently in churches across Europe doors are closing because of falling congregations and shortage of priests and pastors.

"We're very blessed, nationwide numbers are going down, there's obviously huge numbers of distractions from Sunday worship," he said. “The important thing now is to get on with the job, in a sense a church building is only a tool for a job."

Trevor Salmon, minister at the new church, said volunteers hope to open the building during the week as a coffee shop for local residents.

"We had our first service on 14 December and there has been a fair bit of interest from the folk around."

"A building like this is practical and versatile, we want this building to reach out into the community and we're hoping to have a coffee shop so folk can drift in," the 67-year-old added.