THE congregation of Andover Baptist Church has celebrated the completion of its £1.6million refurbishment.

On Saturday the church welcomed members of the community and civic dignitaries including Test Valley mayor Councillor Ian Carr for a special commissioning service.

The Oasis Project for the place of worship in Charlton Road began in 2007 and since then the inside of building has been redeveloped, along with replacing the roof, windows and extending the lobby area.

It also allowed for better mobility ramps and a tidying up of the outside, with the project mainly funded by the congregation and a grant from Test Valley Borough Council.

Communications director Chris Choules said: “As a large church we wanted to create capacity for growth so that future generations could serve God and our community effectively. Our heart for the building is that it can be a blessing to many and that all sorts of community groups and organisations could hire.”

The redevelopment has also given the congregation to hold larger Sunday services, Friday night youth groups, toddler groups and a family fun day.

Chris added: “It has been a true joy to watch all kinds of people of different ages, backgrounds and beliefs come into the building for the first time to enjoy themselves and and feel comfortable in their own skin.”

During the event visitors were shown a montage of the building taking shape and were led in song by one of the church’s bands.

Chris added: “The service gave us a chance to thank God for all he has blessed us with, thank all those people who have made the project possible and share a glimpse of the vision that God has given us for blessing our community.”