Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Monday, 12 October 2009 14:04 UK

Building under way for new church

New church impression
Church membership has grown from 25 people to 100 people in six years

Construction has started on a new evangelical church in Oxfordshire costing £1.75m.

About 100 members of Emmanuel Church gather in Bure Park School, Bicester, every week but have now outgrown their premises.

A ceremony took place earlier at Bure Park estate to celebrate the start of the first phase of the project.

The Reverend Chris Boyce said he hoped the building would be "a tool in God's hands" to help the community.

Food bank

Money has been raised for the building work by the church itself with donations promised from the Oxford diocese and Cherwell District Council.

So far £350,000 has been collected by fundraisers, but more cash is needed to finish the scheme.

The congregation has grown from about 25 people to almost 100 members in six years.

Mr Boyce said: "We see this building as a tool in God's hands to bring real help and support to the community, especially in the areas of debt relief, marriage enrichment, parenting, youth and children's work, and a food bank."

Planning permission has been granted for a community centre and church, which includes seating for 215 people, a kitchen, office and four other rooms.

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