Chapter Three - Planning the New Church

Before the new church in Cardington could be built, a lot of preparation and planning was required of those at Howard Church, Bedford: in order to raise money for the new building, the choir gave a concert at Howard Church on 20th November 1906 and the collection amounted to 17s 3d (about 86p in today's money) – the first donation towards the new building fund. Other donations came from the Christian Endeavour, subsequent concerts, collections and jumble sales. On 20th May 1908 “The Pastor announced that […] the total amount of the Building Fund amounted to £296. As the sum of £350 was needed at once, so that the building could be started without delay, a special appeal was made for a response from those who had not yet contributed.” It was arranged for Corby and Son to build the new church so “they knew […] there would be no inferior material and no scamped work”. Mr Inskip was appointed architect and it was suggested “the chapel be 40ftx23ft, schoolroom 23ftx23ft, vestry 8x8ft with various outside conveniences”.

The stone laying ceremony took place on 15th July 1908: a tea was provided at 5:30pm and the service commenced at 6:15pm. For the Foundation Stone service “the workers of Cardington and the surrounding villages, and sturdy village Non-conformity outnumbered the very numerous company from the Howard and Bunyan churches of Bedford. In view of the unsettled weather an awning had been erected over the site, and boards made a nice dry floor, and although, fortunately, the sky wore its bluest aspect, the arrangements were appreciated”. There was a hymn and Rev W. Charter Piggott followed with a prayer of thanksgiving for the good work done in the old chapel, and for God’s blessing upon the future activities of the church. A stone was laid by the son of Mr John Harris (the gentleman who first brought the matter of a church in Cardington before the Howard Church, Bedford on 1st November 1905). Mr. S. Whitbread gave a donation of £25 and more land for the church than had been asked for. For the occasion, Mr J. Wesley made a model of the Old Barn that could also be used as a collection box. “The congregation stood on tiptoe to get a view of the actual stone laying ceremony. Some of the more adventurous youngsters clambered up the ladders and perched on other points of vantage. Mr E.H.C. Inskip, the architect, handed Mrs Biss a silver trowel, the massive stone was hoisted on its pulley. Its bed well moistened, and the mortar spread. A bottle containing the latest copies of the Daily News, The British Congregationalists, and The Bedfordshire Times, the list of the committee and various coins of the realm, were deposited, and then the stone was cautiously lowered into position, plumbed up and pronounced ready. With three gentle taps with the mallet, Mrs. Biss declared “this stone to be well and truly laid in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost””. Several other memorial stones were laid. Among these were stones laid by Mr Sarll and Mr Keech: Mr Sarll (first superintendent of the Sunday School) laid a stone on behalf of past workers at the chapel and Mr Keech (present superintendent of the Sunday School) laid one on behalf of the current Sunday School.

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