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Pictured at the Rededication Service with Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, are St James' Refurbishment Project Committee members Roger Dalby, Jenny Pengelly, Janet King and John Lloyd.

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Melton Mowbray Team Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby, and Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, at the Rededication Service.

Well worth the wait

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It's been a long time coming, but the wait has been well worth it. Yes, St James' Church, Burton Lazars, is now open looking cleaner, brighter and more welcoming.

And on Sunday (January 13th) the beautiful 11th century Grade 1 Listed building, which was refurbished last year, was rededicated by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, and a large crowd of people got to see what has been done in the church.

The refurbishment work, which has taken years to come to fruition and cost in the region of £200,000, included giving the church a toilet, a small kitchen/servery, a new meeting room/vestry plus a new heating and lighting system. And the results are spectacular.

At the special Rededication Service, church wardens Janet King and Jenny Pengelly outlined just how much hard work had gone into getting the refurbishment under way. Jenny said they were extremely thankful to all of the grant bodies who had contributed and helped and that they had been blessed with the support of the congregation and community in Burton Lazars. 

"It is really absolutely amazing and, if nothing else, I hope it will encourage other small churches  to see what can be achieved through tenacity, courage and prayer, " said former Melton Team Parish Vicar, the Revd Sharon Constable. A message of congratulation was also delivered by Cllr Janet Simpson.

The welcome was given at the service by Melton Team Parish Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby, and music was played by Helen Covington on the organ and St James' Music Group. An amazing violin solo was played by Adele McMahon.

In his address Bishop Martyn said he was pleased that the building is now filled with a sense of beauty, a place of drawing people in to something other than just the ordinariness of life.

"Something that lifts our eyes beyond all that to wonder at this world. Filled with a sense of history, of course as well, as these very stones are soaked in the prayers of generations," he said. " So many, over hundreds of years, have come to this place to bring their questions to God and to pour out their hearts to God.

"My prayer, as you enjoy this beautiful building, is that it may be a house of prayer where you and others come before God with your longings, your desires, your thanks when you experience the healing and wholeness that Jesus Christ came to bring."

During the service the hymns I Will Enter His Gates, Praise to the Lord The Almighty, How Great Is Our God, Tell Out, My Soul, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord O My Soul)and You Shall Go Out With Praise were sung.

If you haven't been to look round the refurbished church it is well worth a visit. The next service to be held their will be on Sunday (January 20th) with Holy Communion (BCP) at 11.15am.

The St James Refurbishment Project Committee would like to thank the following grant bodies and individuals for all their help: Leicestershire Diocese Capital Fund; FCC Community Action Fund WREN:(heating and toilet); Garfield Weston Foundation; Leicestershire Historic Churches Trust; National Churches Trust; SHIRE Community Grant (Leics City Council:kitchen); The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation; Jack Patston Charitable Trust; All Churches Trust; Maud Elkington Charitable Trust; Ernest Cooke Trust; Florence Turner Charitable Trust; St James' congregation and Burton Lazars community.

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St James' Music Group pictured during the service.

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Church wardens Jenny Pengelly and Janet King told of the struggle to get the refurbishment work under way.


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Above and below: Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, pictured during the service.

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St James' Church was packed out for the Rededication Service.

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Enjoying some refreshments after the service.


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Some of the beautiful cakes on offer in the new kitchen area.

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