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Project of the Year 2018: Carleton Rode Baptist Church

Northern Sector

Carleton Rode Baptist Church

Chapel Road, Carleton Rode, Norfolk

Timber Frame Repair

We need your help to continue our work and witness in South Norfolk!

You may have visited our church here in Carleton Rode. You will find us – sometimes with difficulty! – in rural South Norfolk, standing between the villages of Carleton Rode and Bunwell, which have a total combined population of approximately 1500. There are very few local facilities, – just one local shop cum / post office, no pubs, and virtually no public transport. There are two small village schools, one in each village, and two community halls, both used for a variety of clubs, playgroups and other activities.

The nearest town is Attleborough, which is 5 miles away, whilst Norwich is 13 miles away.

On our website, we are described as a ‘Church in the heart of the countryside, with the country community at heart!’ an apt description for our mission here.

Our church building is very important to us, representing as it does over 200 years of local worship and witness in this rural community. It is a recognised, familiar and well loved landmark, built between two villages and serving both. Even more important to us, however, is the space our building provides for local people to come together and meet here, sharing their experiences, hopes and fears, and finding encouragement for their everyday lives.

Our building

Our building is Grade II listed and was built in 1811, but has been extended at various times over the years. A schoolroom was built above the existing stable block in 1904. Following a fire in 2009 the stable block was converted into a coffee shop with a new kitchen and a toilet block. The main sanctuary area has a balcony along 3 sides, supported on metal pillars embossed with flowers and vines, and a raised pulpit area at the front. There is a baptistry beneath the floor in front of the pulpit. The old pine pews were removed in 2012 and replaced with chairs.

The problem and the cost

The original main church building has a  timber frame which over years has badly deteriorated and is in need of       extensive repair. This is endangering the safety of the hipped roof. Investigative works have identified the extent of the problem, which involves replacing much of the oak sole plate, and a significant amount of timbers, followed by making good the interior walls, and redecorating. The works are expected to cost in the region of £90,000.   A vast sum for a modest rural church to find.

About us

Although placed in a rural setting, we are not a rustic fellowship! We have a membership of 42 with a regular Sunday morning congregation of around 55.  A smaller group meet for evening worship. We run a full programme of activities including regular Bible studies, two Ladies’ meetings, and a young people’s group, ‘The Loft’ for around 25 children aged 8 – 14years.

In addition to our regular services and activities, we try to show God’s love in word and deed through our Coffee Shop, open three times a week, and a Community Meal in the main church each month – these are supported by between 60 to 100 local residents and provide a regular meeting place in an area of rural deprivation.  Many visitors comment on the warmth of the welcome they receive, and often refer to the church as being ‘a very special place, peaceful and welcoming.’

The local Scrabble Club meet in our schoolroom, and Wymondham College students use our field and buildings as a base for their Duke of Edinburgh activities. The Local primary school brings a small group of pupils each half term to the Coffee Shop to celebrate special achievement.

Our church is a collection point for the Norwich Food Bank, and from time to time other local groups use the field or buildings for a variety of activities. The church is licensed for marriages, and we have a graveyard adjacent to the church, which is used for members and their families and some local residents and also a large field used for games, barbecues, special events and additional parking.

Our fundraising

We began to raise funds for this project in September 2017. The church has already contributed £7,000 for investigative and planning works, as a sign of our commitment to this repair project. In addition, we have agreed to   release a further £15,000 from our general funds as the base for our Repair Fund. (£11,000 from legacies, £4000 from general funds) We should be able to reclaim VAT on a significant portion of the works through the LBPoW scheme.

Our local community, friends and church members are very supportive of our work here, and have been making regular donations. Since we began our fundraising, we have received on average £1000 each month in a variety of donations, and our Anniversary & Gift Weekend in April raised a magnificent £8,000 – an amazing answer to prayer! To date, we have £39,000 in our building fund, with a promise of a further £20,000 from a range of grant providers and other sources.

So, this leaves us with a shortfall of around £30,000. Some grant applications are still outstanding. We are trusting God to answer the need, as we believe we are meant to be working in this community supporting and sharing with the folk here.

Can you help us reach our total? Please pray for us as we face this mountain….. and if you feel you can contribute in any way, however small, may God bless you for your generosity.

Thank you,

The trustees, members and friends of Carleton Rode Baptist Church


A note from the Eastern Baptist Association

The council fully support Carleton Rode Baptist Church in the efforts to fundraise to repair their building. If you wish to support this project financially please send any gifts direct to the church.

Cheques made payable to Carleton Rode Baptist Church and sent to

Beryl Dawson

Treasurer Carleton Rode Baptist Church


Hargham Road



NR17 1DS