Building Our Future
AN UPDATE ON THE “BUILDING OUR FUTURE” PROJECT
The PCC has recently reaffirmed its commitment to implementing the “Building our Future” project. This is the project to redevelop the interior of the church building, to make it more welcoming, more practical (both for church and community use), and even more beautiful. The aim is for our church building to play its part in the reinvigoration of our worship and community engagement, supporting the growth and sustainability of our mission to reflect, demonstrate and share the love of God.
The proposals - which are subject to Diocesan approval - include the installation of kitchen and toilet facilities; the laying of a new stone floor to replace the existing decaying tiled floor; replacing most pews with more flexible and more comfortable seating that facilitates flexible spaces for worship and other activities; the opening up of the West Door as a main entrance to the building, with a raised bell-ringing chamber; improved disabled access; enhanced audio-visual facilities; new heating and lighting; and better meeting and storage facilities.
A significant first implementation step has already been taken with the installation of the new sound system. We have a full design scheme in place from our architects, and a number of work-streams have been started in recent months under the aegis of the PCC. We are in communication with the Diocesan planning authorities and working towards a site visit early in the New Year. We have engaged a historic buildings consultant to help us finalise the key Statements that are needed to support our church planning applications. We have started to consult afresh with key local stakeholders on the proposals, starting with a meeting with the headteachers of the schools in the village this month. We have also started to investigate potential for Bloxham Baptists to make use of the building. The PCC has approved governance arrangements for the project and a commitment has been made to engage professional project management and fund-raising skills.
There is a real opportunity for our church to build on the range and richness of current church activities and establish St Mary’s as a true community hub, against a background of Bloxham’s population in 2030 projected to be 70% higher than it was in 1991 (it is in fact already most of the way there!). The church building is currently greatly hampered by not being designed with such a purpose in mind.
The PCC are in a position of trust with regards to the church building, and its beauty and architectural distinction (St Mary’s is described in Pevsner’s Buildings of England as “one of the grandest churches in the country”). As such it is an aim of the project to further realise the glorious interior space and light. We have commissioned from our architects a 3D video “walkthrough” of the design which we believe helps to convey this, as well as demonstrating in a very tangible way the various elements of the proposed interior changes noted above. This is available to view on the new St Mary’s website at www.stmarysbloxham.org.uk and may be subject to further changes. Please do take a few minutes to examine the walkthrough, and please feedback any thoughts or comments on the proposals to the Vicar, the Churchwardens, or to Jon Carlton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ian Myson (email@example.com) who are supporting the day-to-day work of progressing this important project.
Ian Myson, Jon Carlton, Liz Farmer - December 2018