DUNSTABLE BAPTIST CHURCH & BOOKSHOP
The church at Dunstable wished to improve the facilities of their Victorian Grade II listed premises by building a church office and new kitchen, upgrading the toilet facilities, and refurbishing both the existing church hall and the church bookshop (www.christianbooks.uk.com). The Corporation was pleased to assist by providing a grant towards the cost of this major redevelopment. Work commenced in early 2015. However the project quickly ran into a problem when, during excavation for the hall extension, human remains were unearthed. Headland Archaeology were called to conduct a survey, and a licence was granted by the Ministry of Justice to exhume the remains for examination. The find made the front page of the local Dunstable Gazette with the headline "Church stunned as child's bones are dug up." The partial skeleton was concluded to date back 500 years, predating the church. Once the remains were reburied, the delayed project could continue. After a long construction phase the church were able to start using the new premises and refurbished facilities in February 2016. The new kitchen has allowed the church to hold large scale fellowship lunches and also host such ministries as "Friends & Neighbours".
The church writes: "The new premises allow the church ministries to operate with greater freedom knowing that we can cater for the community with facilities that are modern, bright and function well. Simple things like baby changing facilities for toddlers and for creche allow a greater inclusion with parents of young children. The improvement in access throughout the building allows greater access to those with disability needs and the improvement in natural light provides a brighter more welcoming atmosphere. We give thanks to God for all the work carried out on site, in a safe manner with no incident or injury in what was a complicated project of refurbishment. We give thanks for the finance provided to fund the project, generous giving by the church members and the grant we received from the Grace Baptist Trust Corporation."
Chapel & church hall before the project
Hall extended and connected to the chapel
Partial skeleton uncovered during excavation
Coffin nails found with human remains
Refurbishment of book shop attached to church
Newly refurbished bookshop
Church hall during extension phase
Hall with new kitchen hatch
New toilet facilities
Extended and refitted kitchen
Preparing a meal in new kitchen
Enjoying a buffet meal in hall