St Dionis church in Parsons Green was transformed to resemble a five-star 1920s dining venue for a fundraising evening.
Two hundred congregation members and residents enjoyed a spectacular dinner dance helping to raise nearly £40,000 towards the much-needed refurbishment of the building.
The inside of the church was decorated with large palm trees, a grand piano and all-white tables. Church member Sarah Abell said: "It looked stunning. When you walked in it was hard to believe it was the same place. I think before the evening some people had the mistaken belief that a church fundraising event might be a little home-spun. This definitely wasn’t. I was so impressed. Everything including the food, décor and entertainment was first class."
The evening was put on to raise money for the church’s "Living Space" project. The Victorian building, which stands on the edge of Parsons Green, is in urgent need of a make-over.
Vicar Tim Stillwell said: "The church was built in 1885 but it has largely remained untouched since that time apart from a few additions such as an inside toilet, electric lights and a sound system. We believe that the time has come to renew the building so that it can better meet the needs of today’s community in Parsons Green.
"We run a thriving mums and toddlers’ group and host lots of events for local schools but there is so much more that we could be doing if we had a more versatile and welcoming space."
Dozens of local businesses supported the event. Estate agents Strutt and Parker sponsored the evening and many other shops and organisations donated their services for free or provided prizes for the auction and raffle.
One of the organisers, Sarah Ollerenshaw, said: "We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community. It made us realise how much the church is valued by those who live and work nearby. We want to thank everyone that lent their support."
The money raised will mean the church can appoint architects to start drawing up plans for the refurbishment. Curate Will Leaf said: "We will need to raise a great deal more money in the coming months but this is a fantastic beginning. We can now get started and hopefully it won’t be too long before we have a transformed church ready to meet the needs of Parsons Green in the twenty-first century. It is very exciting."
* If you want to learn more about the "Living Space" project or if you are interested in making a donation, please visit http://www.livingspaceparsonsgreen.org