LIVELY services full of song and dance filled a historic GWR site as the Pattern Church welcomed people inside to worship for the first time.

The church has been live-streaming its Sunday sessions throughout lockdown and is now inviting its congregation to take part in person.

The former home of the Great Western Railway Pattern Store underwent a £2.1 million renovation to transform it into a modern and colourful place for workshops and worshipping.

The Grade-II listed building’s brickwork was retained while a sound system and activity areas were installed to fill some of the vast venue which could soon have on display the hundred or so wooden patterns still left behind when the store first shut.

Things kicked off with a 9am service for all ages, which youngsters accessed by zipping down a newly-installed slide.

A 10.30am session had activities for primary and secondary schoolchildren on the ground floor while the grown-ups enjoyed a medley of music, prayers and Bible readings in the basement.

A 4pm service rounded off the day.

The congregation could not sing along due to Covid regulations but happily danced, clapped and raised their hands in praise while spaced out among rows of seats.

Rev Joel Sales and his wife Cath led the energetic services and reeled off several shout-outs sent in by people watching the first two live on Facebook and YouTube.

They said: “It’s a real privilege to be able to host live worship in here for the first time ever. Our first all-ages service was amazing and so much fun.”

Tom Morgan greeted guests before the services started. He said: “We were pretty full considering the distancing guidelines, and we saw a lot of young families who we haven’t seen for a long time, which was nice.

“A lot of people first became aware of us through our live-streams so we want to keep them going.”

Built in 1897 to keep engineering plans and designs for Great Western Railway, the Pattern Store’s three-storey structure is topped by a massive cast-iron water tank. Italian restaurant chain Bottelino’s set up a branch inside the iconic premises for 10 years before closing in 2017.

The Pattern Church first formed in December 2018, hosting services in rented spaces before lockdown while the renovation was carried out.

For more information about booking a seat at the Sunday services or joining the Pattern Kids and Pattern Youth workshops, visit