A CHURCH group recreated a photo they took 30 years ago when they said goodbye to their beloved building.

Members of Loughton Methodist Church reminisced about everything they have achieved in the last three decades at an anniversary party.

The old chapel had stood in High Road since 1903 but when the decision was taken to rebuild it in 1986, members of the congregation gathered outside for one final photo.

The new building was formally opened the following year in 1987 by Reverend Peter Bayley – and to mark its 30th birthday, the group gathered outside to recreate the picture.

Christine Baker, who has been a member for 35 years, said: “It was a big deal in all of our lives at the time. The decision was to tear down the old building and put a bigger one in to accommodate the growth.

“But would it keep on growing? Well, it has, and we’ve managed to offer a far greater variety as a result of this building.

“When we closed it down we had nowhere to go and that affected us quite dramatically as we’d lost our home.”

During the year the congregation were ‘churchless’ for, they were welcomed by St Edmund’s Roman Catholic Church in Traps Hill.

The group held a birthday party which included a creative flower festival and an exhibition which charted the journey to build the new church.

People who have since moved away from the area came back to help celebrate the church’s achievements.

Ms Baker, the chairman of the 30th Celebration Working Party, added: “The day was phenomenal, we never knew how man would could as it was impossible to track it, but so many people turned up.”

LMC also includes Wesley Hall, at the back, and in 2012 LifeWorks opened as an art and drama facility.

Worship opportunities extend to all ages, including monthly Messy Church sessions attracting over 100 children and their families, who are given a free supper.

The Wesley Café is open daily for coffee, annual holiday clubs and youth groups meet and the building is used by a number of organisations for sport, music and counselling.

It is also home to the Christian Drama Resource Centre, a charity which lends costumes, props and scripts to school, community groups and churches including Action for Children.