CHURCHGOERS in Summertown have been celebrating the completion of a £750,000 extension scheme.

The Threshold Project, at St Michael & All Angels Church, in Lonsdale Road, has been built to make the church more accessible to the local community.

Alongside the meeting space framed in glass is an office, a commercial kitchen and specialist area for the flower arrangers.

Last month vicar Rev Gavin Knight was joined by members of the congregation and Bishop of Oxford Rt Rev Steven Croft to mark the completion of the Threshold Project.

Welcoming the completion Rev Knight said: “The whole community gathered, churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike to celebrate this community project.

“The new pathway and glass frontage demonstrates our determination to be more accessible and transparent.

“We want the church to be used and loved - this is a statement to the local community that the church is alive and very much open for business.”

Rev Knight thanked David Smith, chairman of the church’s buildings team, for taking a leading role. Mr Smith was a choirboy in the 1950s.

Rev Knight added: “David has led us through the rapids and delivered a remarkable building for future generations. His dream has come true.”

The money for the extension was provided by the church itself and through donations, trusts and grants.

The construction of a new parish church for Summertown was an ambitious Edwardian project, with the foundation stone was laid in 1909.

The church was planned for a congregation of nearly 1,000 people, and the original design displayed an ornate bell tower but funds ran out and the original design could be completed.

The church survived for over 100 years with just one toilet until the extension was completed.

The completion of the Threshold Project has led members of the church to look back on the building’s history.

Fundraising began in 1904 to build a new church for Summertown, to replace St John’s, which had become too small for the regular congregation, and in 1908 work on today’s St Michael’s was launched.

About 1,000 copies of the Order of Service were printed for the ceremony on February 11 1909, at which the foundation stone was laid by the Countess of Jersey.

Work on the building was expected to be finished by Michaelmas that year.

The work was completed but only after the decision was taken to cut short the nave and lay a temporary west wall.

The consecration of St Michael’s, commemorated by two small lights in the East window, took place on September 29, 1909.

The church serves Summertown and the surrounding area including Cutteslowe and Waterways.