Baptists choose oak for their new DIY ark

23 June 2010

by Ed Thornton

MEMBERS of a congregation in Cam­bridgeshire are about to start work on building a new churchout of green oak, with their own hands.

Next month, worshippers at High Street Baptist Church, Isleham, will begin constructing the 3500-square-metre church building, which has been designed to resemble a trad­itional East Anglian farm com­plex.

Three members of the congrega­tion will work full-time on the project, alongside the lead elder, Paul Hedger, working part-time. He has worked with wood for three decades. Other members are expected to lend a hand as the project pro­gresses.

It is estimated that the project, “The Ark”, will take three to four years to complete.

Members of the congregation have bought 1000 large oak logs, as well as machinery to cut and join the wood, and they have built a sawmill on the outskirts of the town.

Mr Hedger said: “We found that the region’s sawmills could cut beams up to only 25 feet long, but our new building needs beams 35 to 40 feet long. We decided the best way to get the wooden members we wanted was to make them our­selves.

“When the machines have done their work it will be down to men with woodworking tools to join [the wooden members] together to create a building which, when complete, will be pleasing to the eye and take care of both the spiritual and com­munity needs of the people who live around it.”

High Street Baptist Church was founded in 1812, and is in the Charismatic Evangelical tradition. The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon was baptised in the river Lark in Isleham in 1850.

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