Record breaking climber opens new church and community centre
A record-breaking mountain climber visited Shenley Brook End to open the Oak Tree Café and Community Centre
Jo Gambi holds the world record for the fastest female ascent of the highest mountain in every continent of the world. She came to Milton Keynes on Saturday, 15 October to take part in the official commissioning and opening of the Oak Tree Centre, a Baptist initiative in Shenley Brook End.
The celebrations began with a family-friendly community event from 10am to 12noon when anyone can come and look round the centre and enjoy a variety of games and activities.
Jo Gambi took part in a service of commissioning at 1.30pm and, in the evening, spoke at a ticket-only champagne reception and dinner, where she will told some of her inspiring story that includes the conquest of personal, as well as geographical, mountains.
Building the Oak Tree Centre, in Wallinger Drive, has been a long uphill climb for Shenley Christian Fellowship (SCF), a Baptist congregation, which raised £1.8m needed to complete the first stage. Since it started in 1991, the church has used school and community properties for its activities.
The Oak Tree Centre brings these under one roof in a versatile suite of five rooms that will be hired for community or business purposes when not in use. A glass-fronted café gives the centre a welcoming, airy feel and provides a comfortable place to meet, serving a range of drinks, snacks and light meals from 8.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday.
SCF members may need the inspiration of Jo Gambi’s climbing exploits as they prepare to set out on Stage 2 of their journey. At an estimated cost of £1.65m this will add a special area for youth activities and a dual-purpose space that can double as a 400-seat auditorium or a sports hall.
'We believe the Oak Tree Centre is just the first “peak” in a range of challenging hills we have to climb to see our complete vision for the project become a reality,' said Shenley Christian Fellowship’s Pastor, Ross Dilnot.