HERITAGE AND RESTORATION
CHURCH AND CHURCH HALL
In 2008/2009 a decision was made by the PCC to sell off the old vicarage which had become a non sustainable drain on church finances.
The money raised through the sale was used to refurbish the church buildings to enable them to be used more extensively and to be offered for use by the local community.
To achieve this a decision was made to remove the pews and replace them with contemporary chairs to enable a flexible use of the church space.
Refurbishment, rebuilding and and improving the facilities of both the Church space and the attached Church Hall ( now The Hilltop Centre) was transformational and enabled us to achieve our aim whilst also producing an income stream which has helped sustain church finances with the aim of ensuring the future viability of the church.
In undertaking this project we felt it was important to recognise the past whilst moving into the future.
As a result we have been able to take forward our Heritage.
We worked with a local craftsman who enabled the pews to be refurbished and sold. We were able to sell nearly all to people with connections to the church and there are some lovely stories surrounding this.
We also were able to use wood from some of the pews to make oak furniture for church including tables, a book store, a box to store communion rails, a flag store and the most stunning and amazing cross.
We have kept an example of both of the pew styles and 2 pew modesty screens as part of our commitment to acknowledging the past.
When the pews were removed we had many tapestry kneelers which were no longer required. These kneelers had been the result of the work of many of the congregation in the past and led to another heritage project in which the kneelers which had been in memory of past church members were made into a Heritage curtain. This was blessed by Bishop Paul Bayes in January 2019.
Church has seen us put on some wonderful events for ourselves and the community since the refurbishment and we are able to clear the chairs to create a fantastic space.
We now have a clean, bright and purposeful church building and hall with fantastic facilities which have been used extensively.
We know that some of our congregation were at first anxious about the proposed changes, especially removing the pews, but following the completion of our refurbishment and rebuilding project have been delighted with the outcome.
Our building project had to be split into various phases due to finances so we still have plans for further development including a new Hilltop Centre entrance and office and enhancement of the Memorial garden.
The Memorial Chapel was a gift to the Church from the Ritchie family and consecrated in 1923.
In 2012 it was recognised that the Memorial Chapel could be used for so much more than was originally envisaged. It was well-suited for small prayer meetings, healing and private prayer and an ideal venue for small services like the Sunday 8.30 Communion and the Wednesday mid-week Communion whilst remaining true to its ethos as a special memorial to servicemen who died in combat.
The challenge was to preserve the past but also to serve the living by making the chapel a warm, bright, welcoming place that could be easily adapted for a variety of uses. So, the project began with repairs to the floor. A floor-to-ceiling glass screen was installed which closed off the chapel for privacy but kept it light and still feeling a part of the larger church and was able to be heated independently
The glass screen was inscribed with a verse from Philippians 4.6:
Do not worry about anything but pray to God for everything you need, always giving thanks.
A fitted carpet now covers the whole floor area and new, flexible lighting gives control over the ambience: it can be bright or dim depending on how the chapel is being used. This lighting was recognised .
To enable it to fulfil its multi function it now has 20 good quality chairs which can be easily arranged in any pattern, or removed
This heritage project was funded with a generous legacy from Marjorie Roberts and donations from the congregation.
This triptych has been made with prayer, love and much skill by the members of the church Sewing Group.
It was commissioned to hang above the Altar frontal box close to the Memorial Chapel and was completed in 2015.
The theme of the design is “ Christ has set us free...’’ (Gal. 5 v 1a)
It is intended to be viewed from right to left starting at the church and moving towards the Memorial Chapel.
The 1st panel depicts darkness, earthly sorrows, mankind’s burden, the curse of sin but with moon and stars depicting a glimmer of light.
The 2nd ( middle) panel shows that through Christ’s passion upon the Cross comes a new beginning. The dove depicts the Holy Spirit of peace. Burdens are laid at the foot of the Cross.
The 3rd and final panel shows people praising with a fiery background of sunshine, new life and the joy of Heaven.
THE EAST AND WEST WINDOWS
Here’s the link to the recent video explaining the story behind these magnificent stained glass windows