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21st Sep, 2021

Bishop of Birmingham leads service as new Solihull church formerly opens

A NEW Dorridge church has finally opened its doors – after 140 years in the planning.

Funded by parishioners and loans, more than £4million was raised to replace the existing St Philip’s church buildings, first built in 1878, which engineers deemed unfit for purpose due to its crumbling Victorian foundations.

Keir Construction, with local supply partners, worked throughout the pandemic to complete the ‘A’ rated environmentally friendly building to budget and on schedule.

At the centre of the new building is a unique glass spire weighing some three and a half tonnes.

Highly skilled engineering and precision crane fitting were required to safely complete its installation.

The church, with its acoustic design and retaining the original stained glass window, can now accommodate up to 400 people in the worship space, complete with in-built baptistry, surround-sound system, Wifi and service streaming.

Vicar of Dorridge and Bentley Heath, Revd. Canon Duncan Hill-Brown said: “It’s taken years of planning, fundraising and hard work to reach this opening ceremony.

I’m thrilled at all that’s been achieved, with a magnificent church and community facility in the heart of Dorridge and Bentley Heath. We welcome local residents to come and see for themselves all that’s going on and join with us in worship and community life.”

More 2,500 people attended a specially arranged open day on Saturday, September 4 to view the new church.

Along with space for worship, the building contains a sports hall, creche, youth room, catering kitchen and meeting / activity rooms.

The main auditorium is a multi-use facility with acoustics designed by the same team that designed the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Materials and labour have all been sourced locally, boosting the local economy and providing skilled employment in the pandemic.

Meanwhile bricks and rubble from the former church were re-used for the foundations while hardwood for the huge internal beams are from sustainable sources.

In fact all materials have been sourced from environmentally friendly suppliers.

The new building was dedicated by The Right Reverend David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, in a ceremony held on Sunday, September 5.

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