Church in Beccles prepares for 200 year celebration

A CHURCH in Beccles is to celebrate a landmark anniversary with a year of special events.

This year Hungate Church will be marking 200 years since the first part of the Methodist and United Reformed Church building was completed.

Under the title Celebrate Hungate, the church will hold a range of events including a historical exhibition and a festival celebrating life at the church today.

The Rev Jo Jacobs said: “This year presents a great opportunity for the town and the surrounding area to experience the famous warmth and welcome as the church embarks on a year-long series of events to celebrate Hungate.”

A Meeting House was built on the site in about 1690 and was used for worship and fellowship until the present church was built in 1812.

Since then it has been added to considerably and in 1977 the Methodist Church closed and the two congregations united.

Mrs Jacobs, who will be retiring in July, said that the church, which is well-known for its annual Christmas Tree Festival, is a hub of the community.

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She said: “This church is used constantly by the community. The playgroup uses it every morning and some afternoons, then a variety of other organisations use it including courses and choirs, as well as our own activities.”

One of the highlights of the celebrations will be an exhibition of records and artefacts over the weekend April 27 to 29.

That weekend will also see the launch of the book “The Story of Hungate Church, Beccles – An Independent and Methodist Church History of an East Anglian Town” by the Rev Don Moxon, and a specially-commissioned drama, written by Bruce Cox, will be performed.

The present life at Hungate Church will be celebrated on the church anniversary weekend of July 7 and 8.

Mrs Jacobs said: “It will be a festival of talents, gifts and skills ranging from painting to poetry and crafts to collector’s item with everything in between.”

A leaflet describing the events planned throughout the year will be available soon.