A CONGREGATION which had to move out of its church building last October after the discovery of damaged roof timbers is returning to normality - with the resumption of their coffee mornings.

The Saville Street Methodist congregation found out in September last year that, during a routine inspection, a weakness to one of the large roof beams had been discovered.

Since then, the congregation has met in the Baptist Church in Wells Lane for worship on a Sunday morning, and the Parents and Tots Praise groups continue to meet on Friday morning, also at the Baptist Church. Their Wednesday afternoon Fellowship Group now meets at Princess Court.

Now, their popular Saturday coffee morning will restart on June 4, at the Baptist Church Hall, and continue on the first Saturday of each month from 10am to noon.

Roger Hadfield, from the church, said: "We will be offering a warm and friendly welcome and familiar faces will be serving up the same great value refreshments. We shall be pleased to see returning customers as well as new ones."

The resumption of the coffee mornings means the church is able to run almost all the events it had before the building closed.

Mr Hadfield said he is "very pleased" at how the church is coping.

He said: "We've managed to keep everyone together and happy and we've established good relations with the Baptist Church in Wells Lane."

The congregation hope to return to the Saville Street Church "in the not-too-distant future" if an innovative redevelopment of the interior of the church premises goes ahead.

Paul Emberley, a spokesman for the church, said: "In February, we made an application to the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund to help with the £120,000 cost of repairing the roof of the church.

"Meanwhile, we're pressing ahead with our plans to transform the large building into a community hub for Malton, with a new church space.

"This will involve the creation of two large distinct spaces within the building, including a 300-seat auditorium, modern facilities, and new meeting rooms for five to 275.

"To achieve this, the removal of the fixed pews is essential and our provisional plans have already been reviewed informally by the conservation body of the Methodist Church, and a full submission will be made in July.

"We want to get this right. As Malton is growing rapidly, we believe this is a good use of an historic building in the town, which otherwise will be permanently closed, and either sold or demolished. We shall shortly be distributing a survey to every household in Malton with more details, and asking people for their views."

The Grade-II listed church in Saville Street was established in 1811 by public subscription, including the help of the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, and has served the Malton area for more than 200 years.