We’re at that stage of seeking the final permission for the re-ordering of the church! How long has it taken? Don’t ask, but don’t they say the best things are always worth waiting for?

In April we received a recommendation from the Diocesan Advisory Committee in support of our plans to create level access throughout the main body the church, to introduce a nave altar and to replace those pews to the east of the font (on the right as you go into the church) with chairs. The best of the box pews will be kept at the west end. The final stages of this process – which has been in the planning since 2012 – are to display Public Notices at the church and then ask for final permission (a “faculty”) from the Chancellor of the Diocese. The Public Notices will go up inside and outside the church in May and will be up for 28 days.

We are, without doubt, a growing congregation which in itself is exciting, and we have to be prepared for changes to accommodate modern requirements and the needs of the community. Our desire to make the whole church accessible to everybody is one of our two main reasons for taking this journey in the first place. We also want to be able to use the building for a wide variety of gatherings which can only enhance the attraction of ‘church’ to the outside world! The new flexible arrangement means we will be able to have exciting worship services of all shapes and sizes – from traditional formal services, through worshipping “in the round” and “café-style” church, to the sort of children’s Messy Church services that we have already begun to try out. The church will be able to be used for teaching and discussion groups as well as social events such as our Harvest Supper and other wider community events.

Anyone who would like to will be able to see details of the plans on display in the church. Please feel free to ask Jonathan or the Churchwardens about any questions or queries you may have – we’re very excited about the project! If you want to make any representations to the Diocese about the proposals then the details of how you can do that will be on the Public Notices.

Anyway, now we have to get going –raising money that is. We are hoping to get grants from various sources with the support and advice of our colleagues from the Diocese, but we must still assume that the bulk of the cost must be supported by us. There is a fund open for donations and money already raised, and all monies will be going straight into that account, and that account only, until we have enough to go for it!

Please, then, prepare yourselves for fund-raising activities! It cannot be fair to assume that the whole cost will be borne by our church members alone (would that any of us could afford to cover the cost!) and so events will be aimed at all interested parties with as much variety as we can muster! We hope we may have a small group of people who will be ‘in charge’ of fund-raising events so any ideas for events would be very warmly appreciated.

More information and details of our re-ordering and fund-raising plans for St. Mary’s with an idea of costs etc. will be in next month’s magazine so watch this space!

Be prepared to enjoy yourself and join in with our endeavours as much as you are able – we’ll keep you posted!!

Ruth Chambers