July 23 2014 Latest news:
Harry Kemble, Reporter
Thursday, March 27, 2014
A flourishing Seventh-day Adventist church celebrated its move to 500-seater venue in Coventry Road, Ilford, with a service attended by councillors and Mike Gapes MP for Ilford South.
The Ilford Seventh-day Adventist church purchased the site, formerly used by Ilford Federation Synagogue, late last year because it was “out growing” its previous Ilford Lane home.
Serena Francis, of Romford, a church member, attended the opening service last week.
The 27-year-old, who has been apart of the church since 1999, said: “We were basically outgrowing the building.
“For the grand opening service we had 400 people in.”
Dignitaries from the area attended the service, including Deputy Mayor Cllr Tania Solomon, and Council Leader Cllr Keith Prince along with representatives from community faith organisation Redbridge Faith Forum.
Cllr Solomon spoke during the service of her memories of the former synagogue where she married 20 years ago.
She said: “In the Jewish tradition, women would sit upstairs during worship.
“Today is the first time that I have sat next to my husband in this building.”
Despite moving into a bigger site, Ms Francis says the church is looking to make adjustments to aid its efforts in making it a community centre too.
She said: “We are making a number of structural changes.
“We are looking to raise funds to purchase some music equipment too.”
In time, the church is hoping to offer youth programmes, music lessons, fitness classes, children’s clubs and family life counselling.
The church also offers a Pastor’s Drop-in Surgery that is open to both church members and the local community on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Currently, though, according to Ms Francis, the church runs a coffee morning on Tuesdays and a mixed fitness class in the evenings on the same day.