ABOUT THE CHURCH
In 1927 Mrs Anne Charles-Williamson, a local benefactress, bequeathed £8,000 to the parish for building a new church with the stipulation that it was to be dedicated to The Transfiguration. The Church building was designed by Harold Gibbons and can accommodate 350 people. The foundation stone was laid in July 1936 although the building work was not started until 1938. The Transfiguration was consecrated on 14 July 1940. (The architect notes that it was the first church in the country to be consecrated during the second world war). It was originally a daughter church of All Saints and it replaced St John’s, a Victorian church which suffered from subsidence and was eventually demolished, and St Stephen’s, the ‘tin tabernacle’ in the new part of Kempston.
The Transfiguration became a parish in its own right in August 1976.
When the Transfiguration was built The Beds and Herts regiment raised over £500 for St George’s Chapel in the Transfiguration, which was intended to be a regimental chapel to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the raising of the regiment in 1688. Some of the Regiment’s colours are now laid up in the church and links still remain with the Regimental Association with an Annual Blenheim Service held in August each year.
The stained-glass east window was installed in 1972 and is a focal point and the Upper Room (Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament) upstairs and behind the altar is a place for personal prayer and quiet contemplation.
The design of the Transfiguration lends itself to a variety of uses with moveable chairs and plenty of space and the building is generally in good order. However, there are no adequate toilet or kitchen facilities for general community use in the church. Over the last few years the PCC have considered several ideas to extend or alter the building to enable it to be used more effectively by the local community and it is hoped that these ideas could be revisited in the future.
The Church Hall is a great asset to the parish as well as providing much-needed income. The building consists of a main hall with stage, a smaller carpeted room and a kitchen with fridge and cooker. There is a disabled toilet as well as ladies and gents. Habitat Pre-School meets every day in the Hall and evenings are taken up by several community groups and clubs as well as church events.