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The Baptist church at Westminster Abbey

Memorial Community Church, Plaistow represented at Westminster Abbey service for the National Churches Trust

Four people from Memorial Community Church, a Baptist church in Plaistow, took part in a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 60th anniversary of the National Churches Trust last week (28 November).

Memorial Westminster The church received a grant from the National Churches Trust in 2011 to improve its community facilities, and as part of the service Philippa King the Development Manager was interviewed by broadcaster Huw Edwards about the community use of the church building (pictured).

Representatives of two churches from other parts of the UK were interviewed about repairs to their buildings funded by the Trust.

In addition two young people from the church, Ian McClue, 16, and Janet Waithaka, 19, along with the minister the Revd Mark Janes, carried banners as part of the procession through the Abbey at the start of the service, following some of the distinguished guests including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Mayor of Westminster.

The National Churches Trust has also given a £40,000 towards the current £250,000 repair project at Memorial Community Church, which is due to be completed on 13 December, and brought two parties of its supporters to visit the church earlier this year, including their vice-patron the Duke of Gloucester on one occasion.

Many MPs peers and personalities were among the 2,000 congregation at the service as well as representatives of other churches. The sermon was given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby. The actress Geraldine James OBE a poem specially written for the service by former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. Television presenter and Chief Scout Bear Grylls and historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes read passages from the scriptures.

Philippa said, 'It was an honour to represent a Baptist church from Newham at such a prestigious occasion, and people were interested to hear about the different things our building is used for.' The Memorial Community Church is used by many local voluntary groups including the Bridges project for homeless people, Active Tuesdays for over 50s and the We Are Family Club. It rents rooms out for events, offices to local charities, has a community garden and recently opened an art gallery in its bell tower.

Pic credit: Andrew Dunsmore/Westminster Abbey
Baptist Times, 02/12/2013
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