RENOVATING AND RE-EQUIPPING THE
CHURCH AND PARISH CENTRE
With the Strategy completed, the PCC has reached the point at which it feels ready to begin the complete renovation and redecoration of both the church and the parish centre. It is our hope that funds can be found, both from our own reserves and from a variety of grants, to enable us to carry out a substantial programme of building works, in two phases:
This will be focused on the church itself. It will involve installing a completely new scheme of lighting, replacing the wall hangings with bespoke boards to absorb sound and minimise echo, installing a permanent projector and screen (hidden from view, but easily accessible when needed), improving and redecorating the porch, and undertaking the complete repainting of the walls and ceiling, including the sanctuary.
This will be extremely expensive, but is deemed to be essential to enable the church to remain an attractive place of worship and a high-quality venue for concerts and exhibitions. It is hoped that the work can be carried out during the autumn of 2019. It will require the church to be closed for several months and will involve extensive internal scaffolding.
It is hoped that this will follow Phase I as swiftly and seamlessly as possible. It will involve a total upgrade of the Parish Centre to make it a clean, comfortable and versatile resource for both the parish and the wider community. In particular, it will include the provision of a new kitchen, better storage facilities, and greatly improved access. It will also involve a complete programme of redecoration and the replacement of the existing windows with high-quality double-glazing.
All of this work will be undertaken with a view to reducing energy loss and minimising environmental damage. It will also take account of the needs of the disabled and vulnerable. There are also a number of routine quinquennial repairs to be undertaken.
A major scheme like this cannot succeed unless it has the involvement and support of both the congregation and the wider community. All of you are our ‘stakeholders’; you know and love the church, and you regularly use the parish centre. We know that you will have some (strong!) views about the kind of facilities that we need, and we are also aware that we need to listen carefully to the various groups that use the Parish Centre each week. Accordingly, we are holding the following consultation meetings in the New Year:
On Wednesday 16th January at 7pm, we would like as many of you as possible from our congregation to come and share your thoughts and ideas about what is being proposed. Our architect, Richard Andrews, will be with us, and he will make sure that all that is discussed is taken account of during the design process.
On Saturday 19th January at 2pm, we are inviting members of the wider parish and community to come for a similar consultation, and if any of you were not able to make the meeting on the 16th you would be very welcome to come to this one instead.
On Saturday 2nd February at 2pm, we are holding a follow-up meeting at which, with our architect’s help, we hope to be able to give you a clearer sense of what our proposals might look like so that, together, we can develop a real sense of vision. We also want to use this meeting to inspire and encourage all of you who undertake such a huge range of voluntary jobs at St Paul’s.
Please make this project a focus of your prayer over the coming months. It is a big undertaking that will inevitably cause considerable disruption and require major expenditure. But it is the outcome of our strategic thinking over the past year, and we believe that when it is completed it will enable St Paul’s to continue to flourish as a place of worship and spiritual encounter, and as a much-loved community centre.
Fr Simon and Mthr Martha