Church to reopen after flooding

Preston and Leyland Citizen: The parishioners of St Peter and St John's Church in Moorland have been unable to gather for worship for around 90 days. The parishioners of St Peter and St John's Church in Moorland have been unable to gather for worship for around 90 days.

A congregation will gather at their Somerset parish church for Easter Sunday tomorrow, the first service to be held there since massive floods devastated the area.

While Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, the parishioners of St Peter and St John's Church in Moorland have been unable to gather for worship for around 90 days.

Rector of Moorland, the Reverend Jane Haslam, said the church has been out of bounds since January as the village was first cut-off and then inundated itself.

But despite the Victorian building still needing work, the repair team has worked hard to make sure she can take tomorrow's service, joined by the Bishop of Taunton, the Rt Rev Peter Maurice.

She said: "It is around three months since we have had a service in there, there was a foot to 18 inches of water in it at one point, not as much as many of the houses but enough to do some damage."

Rev Haslam said that with the village population still spread far and wide as the clean-up goes on, she hoped the service would act as a focal point for the community.

Children from a local school in Bawdrip have made sure the churchyard is alive with flowers and last week members of the small congregation took an Easter egg to every house in the village.

She added: "The village is full of skips and rubbish and debris, it is just nice to have some sense of life and colour."

Fire and flood restoration specialists from Cornish firm Richfords are carrying out the work on the church.

Michael Cooper, its business development director, said: "The church is such an important focal point for the village that we are pulling out all the stops to put pews, hymn books and the organ back how they were in time for the main event of the Christian year.

"Getting the church open for worship again will act as a sign to locals that progress is being made."

Rev Haslam said villagers were overwhelmed at the support they have received from far and wide.

"It just shows that people are so committed and caring," she said.

"We appreciate all the help we have received from all around the country, it has been wonderful and gives us so much hope."

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