Above and below: Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, is pictured at the Service of Praise and Thanksgiving on Wednesday night along with other members of the clergy.
It's good to be back!
REUNITED, and it feels so good... Yes, we're back inside St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, and boy, oh boy, has it been well worth the wait.
It's been almost a year since the workmen moved in so it was a fantastic moment on Wednesday (December 13th) to attend a Service of Praise and Thanksgiving to celebrate the re-dedication of our beautiful Grade I Listed building and the dedication of the new "Melton Mowbray" stained glass window in memory of benefactor John Plumb.
Above and below: The Revd Kevin Ashby is pictured addressing the large crowd watched by the Bishop of Leicester and other members of the clergy.
It was good to see so many people in the building, including Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, plus many other clergy men and women, as well as Jason Graham, Managing Director of Midland Conservation Limited, the firm which has carried out the work on the building, along with architect Michael Bagot, Derek Hunt who designed and made the new stained glass window, local conservator Alex Carrington, who restored the Royal Coat of Arms, plus many other people who have contributed in some way to the fantastic Re-ordering Project.
After the processional hymn All Are Welcome there followed a period of silent prayer before the collect. The Revd Dr Mary Barr then took the first reading from 1 Kings 8:22-30 and this was followed by the hymn Take My Life before the second reading by Peter Roffey. Bishop Martyn's sermon then followed and then the hymn Be Still.
*To listen to Bishop Martyn's sermon click here.
After the prayer of dedication St Mary's Church Choir sang "O Be Joyful in the Lord" by Charles Villiers Stanford.
This was followed by intercessions and then the offertory hymn We Love The Place, O God.
The Bishop then made his way to the new stained glass window where James Berresford said a few words about benefactor John Plumb before Joy Burgin unveiled the window.
*To view the unveiling, which took place in darkness, click here.
Above: The new stained glass window being installed in St Mary's Church in November and below the finished article.
*Website Editor Phil Balding was the only person to see the new stained glass window being installed. To view his pictures click here.
After the ceremony Melton Mowbray Team Parish Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby, thanked Derek Hunt for his work designing and making the window.
There then followed a speech from the Patron of the St Mary's Church Re-ordering Project, Jennifer, Lady Gretton DCVO JP, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
*To hear Lady Gretton's speech click here.
This was followed by the hymn I, The Lord of Sea And Sky before a final prayer, blessing and dismissal.
During the evening the Revd Ashby was presented with a cheque towards the Re-ordering Project in the sum of £2,500 by representatives from the Melton Building Society. He is pictured above receiving it.
It was a fabulous night which signalled the end of one journey, which has seen us scatter to hold our services while the work took place, and the beginning of another exciting journey in our newly refurbished building.
BBC East Midlands Today were at the special service on Wednesday and reporter Helen Astle also spoke to Team Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby, earlier in the day about the Re-ordering Project. To view the broadcast click here.
This day has been a long time coming but just a quick look round at the new floor, lighting, servery and toilets, plus the fact that the flooring is all on one level, makes you realise just how blessed we are to have been able to complete the work and just what a talented team of people we have had working on it.
To everyone and anyone who has helped in any way with the Re-ordering Project I want to thank you all for doing such a magnificent job. You have done us, and generations to come, proud.
But don't just take my word for it. We have recently received the following good wishes:
Mayor of Melton, Tejpal Bains: "As the youngest Mayor of the Borough of Melton and the first from an Asian background, I am very fortunate that, as the 'First Citizen' of the Borough, I will get to see the completion of the amazing Re-ordering Project in the town's magnificent parish church. The project's completion wil bring new and exciting opportunities for both the church and the local community and I am delighted to lend my personal support."
Local MP, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan: "Judging from the enormous amount of materials stored in and around the church, the extent of the renovation has been monumental. I am full of admiration for all the hard work done to raise the money which has gone into making the renovation possible. My best wishes for completion and re-opening."
President of homeless charity Emmaus, Terry Waite CBE: " I am delighted to give my support to the Re-ordering Project for St Mary's Church. Because there are so many churches in the British Isles we sometimes take for granted their importance and significance in national life. Not only are they centres for Christian worship, they are also centres for the whole community and repositories of the history of the area. I wish everyone associated with the project all success in their endeavours."
The Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, Archbishop of York: "My prayer for the people of St Mary's, Melton Mowbray, is that whilst they are in exile from their church building during 2017, they will be so blessed with a fresh outpouring and renewal by the Holy Spirit that, when the time comes for you to return to your restored church, there will be many new disciples of Christ amongst your number. May God bless you in this exciting year!"