A church which was unused for 13 years has been given a new lease of life thanks to a ‘labour of love’ by dedicated volunteers.
The former St Mark’s church was reopned for use by Gateway Church in a special ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of Leeds and MP Hilary Benn.
Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor David Congreve, gave a speech at the civic opening on Friday June 6 congratulating the “labour of love” that had gone into finishing the building.
The building on St Mark’s Road, in Woodhouse, was bought by Gateway in 2006 after closing for use five years earlier.
Since then the group has been fundraising and renovating the historic building which was originally constructed in 1817 after being commissioned by the government following the Battle of Waterloo.
At the opening ceremony Hilary Benn MP (Lab, Leeds Central) thanked Gateway Church members for their ongoing voluntary community work within the local area.
Chris Frost, one of the leaders at the church, said, “It was great to see leaders from local business, education, politics and local government as well as members of the local community gather together to celebrate the civic opening of this historic building. We hope that many others will have a chance to come and see this once forgotten building.”
At the ceremony architect Richard Crooks presented Gateway Church with a restored section of stain glass dating back to the early 19th century, which he had found in the basement of St Mark’s prior to the refurbishment.
As the building takes shape, Gateway hopes it will be used by a variety of different social groups and for a range of activities from parent and toddler groups to classes for dance and language.
In addition to the traditional Sunday service, which takes place at 10.30am, there will also be monthly ‘powerhouse’ prayer meetings, with times available on the online event calendar at: www.gatewayleeds.net
The church has asked for donations via a ‘wedding list’ of items needed to help furnish and equip the newly restored building.
The full list of items, available on the website www.gatewayleeds.net, is divided into ‘essentials’ and ‘desirables’ that will help furnish the church and the community cafe.
And the church is also fundraising to pay off its mortgage within three years.
For more information, or to start donating, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
People are invited to a fun day being held at the church today from 11am to 2pm which will officially open the venue.