As of the 16th September 2020, Meadgate Church has taken ownership of The Orchards, having completed the purchase from Essex County Council.  We are extremely grateful to all who have donated to The Orchards Purchase Fund, to The Diocese of Chelmsford for providing the loan, and to Essex County Council for agreeing to sell The Orchards to Meadgate Church and for providing the community grant. 


Rev Canon Tim Ball comments:

At the start of it all the people of Meadgate church were invited to ‘Dare to Dream. They did and now owning the Orchards building completes a dream, and begins a new one. We are elated at all that has been achieved by the Church through prayer and vision, hard work and faith to believe that it could be done. We face new challenges in the future, but we face them knowing that in all that has gone before God has been faithfully with us.


Over the years there have been particular people leading the way. Those who first conceived of it; Those who have faithfully and diligently prayed for it; Those who cleaned painted and built it; those who advocated for it; those who have negotiated it; those who did the financial planning and those who have given to it. We are so grateful to God for them all.


A brief timeline of The Orchards purchase:

Meadgate Church has been renting the Orchards since 2014.  Following negotiations with Essex County Council (ECC) in 2017, Meadgate Church was given the opportunity to purchase the Orchards from ECC for £650,000.  Once purchased it has been estimated that a further £150,000 will need to be spent to undertake essential maintenance works.  Essex County Council generously awarded a community grant of £69,000 to Meadgate Church, subject to the sale completing, and this grant will go directly towards the cost of these works.


At the AGM on the 29th April 2018, the Church voted unanimously to proceed with the purchase, and at the PCC held on the 18th May, it was agreed to hold a Pledge Day on Sunday 24th June.  On the Pledge Day itself, an amazing £241,055 was pledged by way of one-off gifts, and £1,605 per month by way of increased monthly giving (both figures including Gift Aid).  


In November 2018, Chelmsford Diocese agreed to loan Meadgate Church £425,000, repayable over 20 years.


The PCC, at its meeting on the 30th November, unanimously agreed to recommend proceeding with the purchase, and at the whole-Church meeting which took place during the morning worship at 10:30 on Sunday the 9th December, the Church voted to proceed with the purchase (For: 92, Against: 1, Abstensions: 2).


In December 2018, we began calling in the pledges.  As of 28 December 2019, the amount raised from gifts stood at £415,613, and the increased monthly giving stood at £1,890 per month (both figures including Gift Aid).


Thanks to the amazing generosity of both Meadgate Church members and others from outside Meadgate Church, the amount which was needed to be loaned from the Diocese of Chelmsford was reduced to £260,000.


Following a lengthy period of sorting out the fine details of the sale and purchase, the sale was finally completed on the 16th September 2020.