A second coming as derelict chapel saved

A former chapel which had been derelict for more than a decade is being refurbished to act as a place of worship again.

The church has been derelict for more than a decade
The church has been derelict for more than a decade

Providence Baptist Chapel in Willenhall had been left dormant since 2008, when it closed its doors due to dwindling congregation numbers.

Previous plans to turn the building into apartments and a hostel did not progress beyond the planning stage, with Councillor Sean Coughlan describing the various issues with the building.

Councillor Coughlan, the former leader of Walsall Council and ward member, said: “It’s probably been the bane of my life for about 10 years as it’s been through different owners and has been a difficult site to manage.

“The last three owners all had an objective to turn it into housing with multiple occupants, but we heard from residents who really didn’t want to see that next door to them.”

Councillor Sean Coughlan joins Paster Paul Williams and members of the Bethesda Shalom church at Providence Baptist Chapel in Willenhall

The Willenhall South councillor said he had found people working on the site in the garden area a few weeks ago who were from a church group in Wolverhampton.

He said the group, who are the Church of Bethesda Shalom, had taken ownership of the site and were busy working to refurbish the site.

Pastor Paul Williams said the church were pleased to find somewhere they could call home, although he also said there was a lot of work to do before it could be used properly.

He said: “Its been completely stripped out inside, with no electricity and no running gas, so we’ve got to restore everything inside from the ceiling to the floors to the walls.

The church has been completely stripped and extensive work will take place to restore the building as it becomes the new home of the Church of Bethesda Shalom

“It’s amazing to find a place like this though and we’ve been praying as a church for a new home, so this is a real answer to prayer and we’re really excited for ourselves and the community.”

Work will now take place to ensure the building is ready to become a place of worship.

Pastor Williams said the aim was for the church to become fully operational within the next 12 months.

Places of worship have reopened their doors following the relaxation of restrictions.

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