New church has famous past

Design and build specialist Adonis Construction has started work on a £4.15 million project to build a new church and community centre in the Lozells area of Birmingham.

The New Testament Church of God on Lozells Road is the first project of its kind for Midlands-based Adonis and work on the 2,400m² site is scheduled to last for 46 weeks.

“This is a really exciting development for us and it’s great to be part of something that will have such a beneficial impact on the surrounding community,” said Neville Clements, chairman of Adonis. “Our aim is to create a building with both spiritual and functional appeal and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with the congregation to achieve our goal.”

Adonis’ team will also be making every effort to reflect the historical significance of the site which has important links with Aston Villa Football Club.

In 1874, congregation members from the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel, which originally stood on the site of the current development, decided they needed a winter sport to fill the time when they couldn’t play cricket. They opted for football and Aston Villa Football Club was born.

Over the years, links between the Church and the Club remained strong, with congregation member and businessman William McGregor becoming an inspirational figure at Villa. Indeed, it was his vision and organisation which lead to the formation of the world’s first club league in 1888.

In 1962, the New Testament Church of God purchased the building, but due to the ongoing cost of repairs, by 2005 the decision had been taken for its demolition. The Church has since operated from a variety of new homes and according to Senior Pastor, Bishop Derek Webley, it will be a blessing to have a permanent home again.

He said: “Having sadly taken the decision to demolish the old church due to severe structural challenges we are pleased that the new church will be erected on the same site thus maintaining over 150 years of Christian witness in the area.

“We are so pleased that the new church building will see us return to our former place of worship, thus enabling us to deliver ministry to the immediate and surrounding areas in a more cohesive manner and in modern facilities which will be disability compliant.”

Designed by Paul Henry Architects, the new church will seat 1,000 worshippers .

Adonis’ construction manager, Ed Lawley, said: “The new church will fill the entire footprint of the site, leaving little or no room for our team to manoeuvre. This means we are having to build it from the inside out, which is proving to be a novel, but effective way of working.”