New church building in Swindon opens for live worship on Sunday

First published 18th September 2020

Pattern Church is a new church in the historic Great Western Railways Pattern Store building in the centre of Swindon. The building has been completely renovated and restored in a £2.1 million project to create a new worship and community space.

Starting Sunday 20 September, Pattern Church will have their first live worship services, following the completion of the building work. Pattern Church was launched in December 2018, and was until recently using rented spaces in Swindon to worship. During lockdown the congregation moved online. The congregation has now around 250 people, celebrates three vibrant contemporary Sunday services, and hosts Alpha groups which explore the faith.

The historic building has played a huge role in the local community, and will again play a renewed key role in its future. Restored and recommissioned it will serve Swindon’s community.

Revd Joel Sales, Senior Leader at Pattern Church said:

“We are so thankful to everyone who has contributed and worked so hard to get to this stage. There's still a way to go with the building, but we are so excited to be here.

“We can't wait to see what God does from this new building in the coming decades as we reach out to Swindon, engage with young people, seek to make a difference with some of the social issues in our town, plant churches that plant churches, and play our part in seeing Swindon come alive.

The Right Rev Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon, said:

“I hope that the purchase and restoration of this iconic building by the Diocese of Bristol, and its opening as a church after the first phase of its refurbishment, will be seen as a highly visible sign of the commitment and ambition which we share with churches across the town to serve the people of Swindon. “

“I also hope that it will amplify the conversations and interest which have already been dismantling some of the stereotypes and assumptions that people often make about what church is like and who is welcome.”

“As a Diocese, and through Pattern Church, we are committed to playing our part in seeing the town flourish and making a difference to people's lives, especially those who have felt passed over and left on the margins. What inspires us is the life and example of Jesus, and we believe the vision we have been given to renew the life of what once was a hub of community in Swindon has come from him.”

The Swindon Railway Works were commissioned in 1841as a repair depot for locomotives using the Great Western Railway by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Daniel Gooch, his locomotive superintendent. The building, dating from 1897, was designed and constructed by the Great Western Railway.

Over the next 100 years it grew into large design, fabrication and repair depot for locomotives, which at the time used steam ad later on used diesel, carriages, and wagons. At its peak in 1924 the works employed 14,500 people.

Prior to the building works commencing several old patterns, both of wood and metal, were in the Pattern Store and have been carefully stored for future display.

Pattern Church would like to thank Allchurches Trust, Growing Lives, Church of England Strategic Development Fund, Arkells Family Brewers, Beatrice Laing Family Trust, Headley Trust, members of Pattern Church plus others who made these building works possible.

See for more details.

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