Spring and Easter is time for rejuvenation and rebirth. A good time to launch new initiatives and to take a fresh approach to established ones. There is something to look forward to for St Mary’s Church too. The good news is St Mary’s Church has received a confirmed grant of £181,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project to carry out essential repairs to the church roof and drainage system. In addition the project will fund new boilers and improvements to the heating inside the church. In 2013 HLF awarded development funding of £25,200 to help the church progress their plans to apply for the full grant including detailed specifications for the work on the roof and drainage system. Repairs work has begun and will continue over the Spring and Summer months. Church services will continue as normal. It’s worth clarifying that the funding for this work is solely from the HLF grant, from the Friends of St Mary’s and from our local fundraising efforts; despite the report in the December issue of the Gazette newsletter, no money has been transferred to the church from the Gazette.
There has been a need and a desire for better facilities in the church building for some time; we’ve sought advice from experts and other churches who have made such changes. Our desire is to make the building as hospitable as possible whilst retaining its historic resonance. Once the repair work is completed we intend to re-order aspects of the building so that we can make it more accessible and flexible, and also to install a lavatory and an area for serving refreshments.
The church building is a focal point for the local community. There has been a place of worship on the site since the 11th century and the current building was consecrated in1490. I hope these repairs and alterations will be good news for the whole community. Our building is a much loved resource to anyone who enjoys coming to worship, or values historical buildings or simply seeks some personal space in the middle of the day. We are all very excited at the prospect of making our building a better place where people can spend some quality time.
Revd Steven Rothwell