When work began on the brand new St George’s Church building, the community of Tilehurst in Berkshire had no idea it would take 133 years for the project to come to completion.
So, after years of grit and determination, the congregation finally got their wish as the south aisle was finally finished. It was officially dedicated by the Ven. Olivia Graham, the Archdeacon of Berkshire, in a celebratory service which saw local dignitaries and the whole community gather at St George’s. Those included the High Sheriff of Berkshire, Lucy Zeal and a variety of religious leaders and councillors.
Music was provided by the Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles. St George’s used to be the barracks church for the Royal Berkshire regiments and still maintains regular connections with Brock Barracks, which is in Tilehurst.
The Revd Adam Carlill said: “I was delighted that Archdeacon Olivia came to do the dedication today. She has been with us for so many years, spurring us on when we needed it.
“When I came here to be the vicar in 1998 they said to me they wanted a new hall and the congregation stuck to that desire for 20 years.”
In a short film made on the day of the dedication service, Archdeacon Olivia said: “The south aisle was the missing bit and successive generations of clergy and wardens have thought about and prayed about and tried to think about reviving the original vision which was to complete a church with a north aisle and a south aisle.
“The south aisle has made a wonderful parish centre and catering facility which is going to enable this church to offer hospitality into the community and to host all sorts of wonderful events here. We are really really delighted that after all this time the original vision of the church has come to completion.”
Below is a gallery of photographs from the opening day taken by Edison Small and a short video made by Jonathan Griffin.