"So, you go to church in a factory?"
That’s something I’ve heard lots throughout my life – but to me it just feels normal. Together with my family, I go to Dundonald Church, which until recently has met in a former print works on the Kingston Road in Raynes Park.
Dundonald Church was formed in 1990, a ‘plant’ from Emmanuel Church in Wimbledon Village. Around 15 families moved to start this new church, meeting in the hall at Dundonald Primary School, giving the church its name. Over the years the number of people involved grew and grew, so we started additional meetings, met in different venues around Wimbledon and Raynes Park. We also supported the start of more churches, in Balham, Kingston, Worcester Park and Walton-on-Thames.
Dundonald Church's first home: Dundonald Primary School
When most people think of a church they tend to think of a building. In reality a church is a group of people meeting together to worship Jesus Christ - wherever that may be. But a building can really help!
So, in 2007 we bought and converted ‘the factory’ on Kingston Road. This has been our home for the last 10 years, which to be honest is pretty much all of my life that I can remember. Each Sunday we held 4 different services, at 9, 10:45, 4 and 7pm, with around 400 adults and 250 children attending each week. The building has been used for so many different things, from mums and toddler groups to youth groups, for concerts and plays, for holiday clubs and teas for the elderly. It’s also been used for blood donation sessions and as a polling station.
Dundonald Church's permanent home
Whilst it has been a wonderful building for our church, it is not without its challenges. The roof leaked, the windows needed replacing and the frontage was pretty unwelcoming. With more and more people coming we knew we needed to do something.
Over the last few years our ‘building for the future’ team explored different options, commissioned plans and raised the funds needed to support redevelopment. Work has just started on site, at the moment mainly demolishing the existing factory and erecting the structural steel frame.
Structural steel frame being erected
And then the exciting part begins, building a new home for our church with a great glass frontage, a clock tower, a bigger auditorium and loads of rooms for all the different groups.
Dundonald Church frontage design
For me I’m really looking forward to new facilities we’ll have for our youth groups. We hope our new church building will provide a great space for everyone in the local community to enjoy.
Main hall design
Youth groups meeting space
Children's groups and conferencing suite space
Creche groups space
Until it is finished, sometime in 2021, we’re meeting at Wimbledon Chase Primary School (9, 10:45 and 4), and at 6.30pm at St Andrews Church on Herbert Road in Wimbledon. If you would like to know please take a look at www.dundonald.org or why not come along on Sunday. We’d love to see you there!
Ellie (aged 14)
This article was written before the outbreak of Covid-19.
For virtual church meetings follow this link:
Images are latest versions but are subject to design development.