City Gates church ‘journey’ nears end as building rises from rubble
PUBLISHED: 15:37 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:19 23 February 2016
Work on a church’s multi-million pound state-of-the-art building is nearing its end, with staff preparing to open its doors in May.
The 1,200-strong City Gates congregation will soon be able to swap services at cinema Cineworld, Clements Road, Ilford, for a £9million centre on the same street.
The new five-storey building will boast a large auditorium, office space, children’s facilities and even its own coffee shop.
Pastor Rev Stephen Derbyshire spoke to the Recorder about the church’s journey since the project suffered a major setback four years ago, when the building collapsed.
Fortunately no one was seriously hurt despite 20 workmen having left the site just minutes before the construction caved in.
“It’s been a real journey,” said Mr Derbyshire.
“The collapse has been the biggest challenge we’ve had but the members have been very supportive.”
The pastor, who is writing a book about the difficult build and his battles with heroin addiction, says the project has been funded purely by donations.
“I have not had one complaint from anyone – people have been amazing,” he said.
“People have been selfless with their giving over the years.”
Mr Derbyshire, who says he was “saved” by Jesus after getting into trouble with the law, said the project had taught worshippers about the value of tithing – paying a portion of ones income to the church.
“It’s not that we have made any big appeals for money, people have just given willingly,” he said.
“It’s taken a long time, it’s not just happened overnight – we were looking for a building for about 10 years. We planned it and we saved for a bit.”
The pastor, who hopes to release his book Out of the Ruins at the venue’s opening on May 14, said the Elim Pentecostal church started about 90 years ago in a tin shack.
“It’s a big step in the church’s history,” he added.
“We’re really looking forward to moving in – it’s looking great.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.