Search

New hope for Bethel

PUBLISHED: 12:15 29 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:09 05 July 2010

JOURNAL readers have been praised for helping to give new hope to a campaign to save the historic Bethel church in Lowestoft.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the Bethel, in Battery Green Road, had been put on the market as a “possible redevelopment opportunity”, with offers invited in the region of £145,000.

JOURNAL readers have been praised for helping to give new hope to a campaign to save the historic Bethel church in Lowestoft.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the Bethel, in Battery Green Road, had been put on the market as a “possible redevelopment opportunity”, with offers invited in the region of £145,000.

A Journal campaign to save the town's fishermen's and sailors' church has received widespread support, and leaders at the church received a boost this week when the Charity Commissioners withdrew their permission for the sale to go ahead. The building is owned by the British and International Sailors' Society (BISS).

A society spokesman said a charitable trust was set up the Bethel in the 1800s to provide a building for Christian worship for sailors and seagoing families. “Now there is no longer a sizable seagoing community at Lowestoft, we are instructed by the Charity Commissioners to dispose of the building and use the proceeds to support the seagoing community elsewhere,” he said.

But, with the commission having a change of heart, there is now a real hope that the Bethel can continue its 158-year association with Lowestoft and district

John Durrant, a trustee at the Bethel, said: “Partly due to the Save Our Bethel campaign in The Journal and the support of people in the Lowestoft area, the Charity Commissioners have withdrawn their permission for the Sailors' and Fishermen's Bethel to be sold under their scheme.

“The trustees and leadership of the Bethel Christian Fellowship will be meeting representatives of the sailors' society, the owners of the building, in the next few weeks to discuss the way forward.”

Mr Durrant said that, while this was good news which at the very least would extend the lifespan of the Bethel as a centre for Christian worship, there was still an urgent need to support the campaign so the church leaders could buy the building to ensure its survival.

His message to townsfolk: “Please keep your pledges coming in as we still have a long way to go to reach our financial target should a solution be found to continue the Bethel's 158-year history as an independent church serving the community of Lowestoft.”

Anyone wishing to pledge their support can write to: The Trustees, The Bethel, Battery Green, Lowestoft,

NR32 1DL or email thebethel@live.co.uk stating the sum they are willing to contribute.

If you have never been inside the Bethel, there is a special opportunity at 10.30am on Sunday, September 21, to join the harvest thanksgiving family service.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Lowestoft Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal