Skip to content

Carleton Rode Baptist church rises from the flames

Carlton Rode Baptist church

Carleton Rode Baptist church in rural Norfolk, a grade II listed building constructed in 1812, was damaged by fire in a suspected arson attack.

The church has a long history of Evangelical persuasion and a congregation is drawn from local villages and towns in the surrounding area. As well as holding Sunday morning and evening worship the church played a key role in the local community as the venue for a Sunday school, children’s after school club and a Friday evening youth group.

The fire started in a storage area which housed a ride on mower, rotary mower and Calor gas cylinder. The fire then spread to floor joists and timber floor boarding above, breaking through into the first floor meeting room. Barry Gotts, a Deacon at the church said: “the fire destroyed one wing of our church building and devastated the congregation.” 

Jeremy Baugh, Baptist Insurance’s Technical Claims Handler, describes how Baptist Insurance responds in such a situation: “We meet with the customer to talk about the process, explain what we are going to do and provide emergency help to protect what’s left of the property and then pull together the right team of experts to help with that specific claim.”

After the fire, the church took the opportunity to apply to the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Local Authority for structural changes to be incorporated in to the repair programme. As Jeremy explains, “this is a unique opportunity to do things like apply to re-order interiors to facilitate community activities and introduce money saving eco measures and we will always support a church in doing so up to our liability.  In this case the church carried out additional fund raising to create an amazing facility for their congregation and the community.”

Barry adds “The fire allowed us to re-evaluate how we 'did' church resulting in less formal service styles and activities. Now we had the opportunity to radically change the internal layout of the burnt out shell we now possessed. Whilst we were about that we also sought permission to remove the ground floor pews in the undamaged main worship area to further add to the usability of the building.”

Baptist Insurance’s church policy can be tailored to include cover for loss of income from an insured event, such as fire or flood. Having this cover in place meant that Carlton Rode church were able to use facilities at a local primary school and village hall to cause as little disruption as possible to the activities held at the church following the fire.

Barry concludes: “As a result of the smoke damage, awful smell and subsequent repairs and building work, the fellowship was out of the building for over three years. After much discussion, planning, negotiating, and re-planning the church now had what we felt God wanted us to rebuild.  Our prayer focus was always, "Lord, show us how to build the structure but please show us how to build in living stones too!”.

“We now have a great café bar area which is open to the community, a new modern kitchen, toilets, office and schoolroom along with a newly decorated main worship area, now devoid of pews and fitted with a lovely carpet  upon which comfortable chairs sit.”

You can find a whole range of resources to help keep your church running smoothly, in the church guidance section, from risk assessment forms you can download and fill in to best practice guidance for events, health and safety and fire safety. To learn more about Carleton Rode Baptist church visit their website.

Call us now for a quote 0845 070 2223  
The Baptist Insurance Company PLC (BIC) Reg. No. 83597. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. The Baptist Insurance Company PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 202032.