A former Methodist church in Cambridge, which stands on a site used for Christian worship for 140 years, has been bought by the Cambridge Islamic College (CIC) for £1.3million.
The sale of Sturton Street Methodist Church follows 12 months of campaigning by local residents keen to keep the building open for a variety of uses. An online petition was started by community organisers (pictured above) and attracted over 500 supporters. Their appeal read:
“The church is an extremely important part of the community, as many groups are held in the hall and church. These include Prime Movers School of Dance, capoeira classes, tango classes, toddler groups, baby music group, and many more. As well as these groups, many families often use the spaces for parties and celebrations. Losing the church would have a devastating effect on the area. Please support our cause.”
A total of 425 local people and business eventually pledged well over £600,000 to buy the Sturton Street site and open it up to create a much needed community centre in the area. The CIC bid was accepted instead but not before supporters stated their case on Twitter.
— Save Our Space (@SaveSturton) May 1, 2015
The Cambridge News reports Revd Colin Smith, superintendent of the Cambridge Methodist Circuit, explained the decision to close a church is “always a difficult one”. He added:
“However, we are excited about the opportunities that the sale of the site will make possible. We are committed to ensuring that money from the sale will benefit the Cambridge community long-term and the majority of the funds will stay in the local area.”
Acccording to its website, CIC aims “to produce a generation of independent Islamic scholars and thinkers who are at the same time working professionals contributing to the wider British society.”
The CIC also provides career guidance, counselling, chaplaincy services and student mentoring as part of its activities.
The college said the purchase of the new premises is a “significant milestone in achieving the College’s vision that fills the vacuum of Islamic scholarship and research in the city of Cambridge”.
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