Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing joined the community at St Mary's Church, Loughton, to help celebrate its 150th anniversary.
St Mary’s was built in 1872 as Loughton was growing. At the time the town's population was just under 3,000 people.
Now the town has grown ten-fold and the church has also grown and modernised too.
St Mary’s has always been at the centre of Loughton High Road and sought to be a community hub welcoming to all.
Over the last 15 years, St Mary’s has developed its building to be able to welcome more people.
Dame Eleanor said: "St Mary's, given its location in Loughton High Road, really is at the heart of the community, but its message and place in Loughton stretches much further than just the High Road.
"My congratulations to everyone involved with the church and my best wishes for the next 150 years!"
Dame Eleanor met Tom Gilbert, who know lives in Great Yarmouth, who was baptised at the church in 1934 and sang in the choir in 1942.
She also met Pauline and her granddaughter, Carmen, who were joining in the celebrations.
Vicar Rev'd Malcolm Macdonald said: "It is amazing to celebrate 150 years of St Mary’s at the heart of Loughton. As a church family we have always loved Loughton. We exist to share the good news of Jesus with our community."
The church held a celebratory Cream Tea Party on Saturday (June 4) and next Sunday (June 12) will be holding three ‘Open Church’ Sunday services - at 8.45am, 10.30am and 5pm.
All services are always open to everyone but these will have a particular focus on community thanksgiving for the 150 years. All welcome.