Recession, the collapse of property prices - oh and and two travelling ponies - have all played a role in the long journey to Ruxley Church building a new home.
But preparatory work has now begun and hopes are high that the final green light will be given within days to build a new church centre on the site of the former vicarage.
Ruxley Church, officially formed in 2002 when Anglican and Methodist congregations merged, has been squeezing into the Methodist church since 1997 whilst waiting for a new home funded in part by the sale of the site of the old condemned Anglican church.
To the surprise of parishioners the site for development was suddenly occupied by a travelling pony, Champion, earlier this year. Champion's owner removed him this spring only for parishioners to find a larger pony, Pinto, in hs place hours later.
Parish priest the Revd Stuart Thomas said: “Looking back Ruxley Church seems to have stood permanently on the threshold of a new future ever since plans for a brand new church centre were given planning permission in September 2006.
"Several potential ways forward emerged, all of which proved to be false alarms. The arrival of two different ponies over the last few months have been extra twists in an already long tale.
"However, we could soon see earth-moving plant on the old site which is teriffically exciting for church members, the community and the diocese as a whole.
“Once the final go-ahead is given the parish and the whole community can begin fundraising in earnest to find the extra funds needed to complete this project and we can look forward to serving the community in a new and exciting way.”
The website will give regular updates on the progress of the new church building and ways in which you can support it. Watch this space!
Picture courtesy of the Epsom Guardian