A Community Focus in Orpington

09 November 2022

Orpington Methodist Church in Southeast London had wanted for some time to be more involved in the local community and be more relevant to the community and discussed this for a number of years.  They realised that in order to be more relevant, they needed to help and work with the community on local issues, which led onto to thinking of how to use the premises and the building project emerged as a part of achieving this vision.


​The project was finished in June 2021 (albeit with some outstanding snagging) and officially opened by the Deputy Mayor and Circuit Superintendent over the 4th and 5th September 2021.  Everyone connected with the Church, the local community and the users of the church building were invited.  The ribbon was cut by the oldest and youngest members at an opening ceremony, which included coffee and cake and a concert in the evening followed by a service on the next day.  The church decided to wait to dedicate the building until the snagging issues were resolved and the completion of the parallel project of constructing a Peace Garden in July 2022.



Improved facilities have allowed the church to better serve the church and community.  There is a flexible area for worship, exhibitions and concerts, making the most of the church space for the whole community. In particular, the church now enables different styles of worship, arrangements for seating and the opportunity to tell the story of our faith in new ways. The church has become more open to all users and offers space for education, stimulation and quietness. The new entrance and enlarged area of welcome offer further possibilities for hospitality and refreshment. The space provides a more accessible area for the church to respond in the week to present users while developing new services.


Since the opening, the church has developed the café to provide tea and cakes on a Wednesday morning and it holds a weekly lunchtime preschool parent and child group.  The church is seeing new faces in the café and in church on Sundays.  A number of church members have undergone ‘listening ear’ training and are available when the café is open.  As more volunteers step forward, the church would like to look at isolation support and eventually hosting a debt counselling service.

The church has been significant increase in the hire of their premises since the completion of the work.  The café provides a more welcoming environment for some charities, such as bereavement counselling and refreshments before National Trust meetings.


Through these relationships, people see what the church is doing and want to be part of it.  The project provides a good place to foster meetings and relationship and it allows for people see what the church is about.  This shift in focus provides a better way to facilitate growth in relationships.  Previously, there were lots of people who passed through the premises but now, these people see the faces of the church, which allows for further contact to happen.

The calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God's love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission. Inspired by Our Calling, the church aimed to increase awareness of God's presence and to celebrate his love; to help people to grow and learn as Christians through mutual respect and care; to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice; to make more followers of Jesus Christ.  The church is now beginning to see small beacons of light with just one year in.  Click here to learn more about the church. 


In terms of practicalities, thought was given to ensure a good energy efficiency of the building. 

  • The whole building was designed to be highly insulated and energy efficient.
  • Existing poorly performing thermal units (e.g. the entrance doors and glazing to the concourse and two sets of doors into what is now the toilets) were replaced with high performance double glazed windows  and glazing systems
  • Glazing was maximised, including the addition of roof lights, to maximise passive solar gain and minimise the need for artificial lighting
  • LED light fittings and PIR sensors where appropriate
  • Low flow taps with auto shut off
  • New toilets and wash basins to reduce water consumption
  • Hand dryers installed to reduce paper usage
  • New heating controls to maximise efficiency
  • Improved electrical systems and drainage

The total project cost of the project was £1,028,097.
Fundraising Totals

Grants                            £479,000

Fundraising                   £227,443

Legacies                        £269,654

Reserves                       £52,000

Total                              £1,028,097

47% from outside sources and 53% from Church reserves and fundraising.  The church obtained grants from Connexion, District, Circuit, Methodist Insurance, TMCP, Garfield Weston and The Charles Jacob Trust.  As well, the church set up a Fundraising Committee which arranged various events, organised a gift day, asked members to contribute and maximised gift aid. The aim was to ensure continuous activity helped everyone to feel part of the project, keep them up to date with progress, and enable them to become involved in ways that suited them.


April 2013

Initial Vision discussed at Church Council

June 2013
Further discussions at Church Council; set up a working party covering all aspects of church life; engaged architects
October 2013
Reviewed various high level options at Church Council
November 2014
Planning obtained for chosen design
March 2015
Fundraising started
September 2015

Engaged Consultants (QS, M&E etc.)

 Detailed design
 October 2017
 Renewed Planning Permission
 June 2019
 Fundraising target achieved
 September 2019
 Planning granted for non-material amendments
October 2019

Tender issued for building contract

November 2019

Started working with TMCP on CIL exemption

March 2020

CIL exemption awarded

June 2020

Main Contractor started on site (Delayed due to Covid)

June 2021

Project Completion

September 2021

Official Opening

July 2022

Snagging Completion

July 2021

Dedication of new buildings