Over three-and-a-half years since its doors were closed, St John’s Church, Accrington, will be officially re-opened this month following an extensive restoration campaign.
Two special services will be conducted on Sunday, September 26, starting with a procession into the church shortly before 10am for a celebratory ‘Back to church Sunday’ service.
St John’s, in Addison Street, was closed in April 2007 due to electrical problems.
Since then a massive refurbishment effort has seen extensive roof repairs, re-wiring work costing £27,000, painting and repairs to vandalised stain glassed windows.
Members of the congregation, led by warden Frank Whitehead (pictured back), have taken on much of the work at the 145-year-old church and have also paid for a new carpet.
However, the church remains without a boiler and a further £7,000 is required to fund a replacement.
Following the closure, the ‘Aspire’ campaign was run jointly by the church with the Accrington Observer to raise £50,000 to save the Accrington Pals Memorial Chapel in the grade II listed building.
Sheila Shepherd (left), of the Parochial Church Council, said: "The major part of the refurbishment was the roof repairs which cost over £50,000. We had a grant from English Heritage and put some money in ourselves. The roof is now waterproof and wind tight. We have also had a complete rewire done now and we have painted a lot of the walls and done a lot of clearing and scraping."
Sheila added: "We are also planning to bring the annual Pals service back in February. It’s been held in St James’ since we’ve been closed.
"All the memorabilia from the Pals chapel has been housed at the Haworth Art Gallery and at the Church House in Blackburn. There are flags and drums and soil from the Somme. It will be the first time that’s been held at St John’s since 2007."
The very first unofficial church service will take place on Wednesday, September 21, and there are also two weddings set to be held in the church this month.