In the late1990’s, when Gallagher Estates announced they were planning to build a new town of some 4,500 homes in what is now Wixams, Local Christians, inspired by retired minister, Revd Peter Evan – who shared his own experience from Peterborough – began to explore the possibility of Church involvement in the development.
In an age of Ecumenical cooperation, there was no way that anything other than an Ecumenical approach would be supported by the various Church Leaders.
A number of interested folk met to form a steering group; and so the Kempston Hardwick Ecumenical Group was born; their sole aim - to establish a Christian worker on site from an early stage in the development.
In January 2001 about 120 people gathered at Houghton Conquest Village Hall, for the signing of a Declaration of Intent; entered into by representatives of:
The Baptist Church
The Church of England
The Methodist Church
The Religious Society of Friends
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton
The United Reformed Church
and KHEG, as the steering body.
For a variety of reasons the planning process moved very slowly; but KHEG held its nerve and waited patiently, under changing leadership.
Eventually, outline planning consent was granted and building work began in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Church Leaders agreed to support a worker for the project, and began working out the detail of how it could be funded and organised.
The post was advertised and an appointment was made in 2007.
Then came recession; and a major down turn in the housing market, and building work on this site and everywhere else ground to a halt.
So, too – sadly – did the Ecumenical project; the first appointee becoming one of many ‘casualties’ of the recession.
By early 2010 a number of house builders were back on site, building a variety of properties.
An approach was made to the Bedfordshire Church Leaders who agreed that the Wixams Church Project should be resurrected.
Funding and housing were in place; the post was re-advertised in the summer of 2010; and a minister was appointed that October – to take up duties from February 2011.
In the meantime, KHEG held events in the village to generate some interest in the Church Project.
The first – a summer barbeque – was a great success, as around 120 people came along and enjoyed food and live music
In December 2010 KHEG held our second on site event - a Carol Concert in the newLakeview School - which was attended by around 50 people of all ages.
Finally, to everyone’s pleasure, February 6th 2011 saw another service held at Lakeview School, as we formally welcomed Rev’d Tim Jackson into the post of Minister of the Church in Wixams.
Many thanks to Brian Addington, current Chairman of KHEG, for providing the information for this page.