AN iconic Dudley church is undergoing a major revamp after fighting back from the brink of closure.

Work has recently started on St Thomas and St Luke, more commonly known as Top Church, to make the space more welcoming to families and as an events space for the town.

The Church of England has ploughed £2.5 million into the church to make it more sustainable for the future through more staff and events, after dwindling congregation sizes meant it was under threat of closure.

The effect of the extra money is already being felt, with the congregation growing from a low of ten people last year, to over 100 today, according to the vicar of the church James Treasure.

James said: "It's opening up the doors again to Dudley, so that people feel like that they have a church that worships in a way that they can engage with."

Work has already been carried out to remove the pews from the building and they will be divided among charity and the Black Country Living Museum.

A specialist is working to prevent any damage to the organ, while a team is also being put together to investigate the heritage work which is necessary on the windows and other historical elements of the church.

Nathan Conway, said: “We are so excited about the changes taking place at Top Church. Taking out all the pews will give us a proper multi-purpose space which can be used for a range of community activities and in which we can experiment with offering worship ‘in the round’. We will also be creating two new spaces – a crèche area and a tea and coffee welcome area, which will be separated from the main space by a wood and glass partition. At the same time some electrical work will be completed and the church will be completely redecorated.”

It is anticipated that the newly renovated church will be reopened in November.

Until then, Sunday afternoon services will take place at nearby Provision House.

James added: "We are grateful to all who have worked so hard to enable this refurbishment to happen. Top Church celebrated its 200th anniversary last year and this work will mean the building is fit for the next 200 years. We will have an open space which will be much more inclusive to different groups as well as being a place where people can discover the beauty of a life in Jesus. It’s going to be a challenging three months as our community will be much more dispersed, but it’s also a chance to deepen our relationship with each other and Christ and the finished result will definitely enable us to participate fully in the life of Dudley town centre and help people to experience life in all its fullness.”