One of our key values at St Mary’s is to ‘Be relevant for today whilst honouring our history and heritage’.
To fulfil this value our PCC in consultation with the congregations and wider community has been working to restore and reorder our wonderful church. This is going to be a long process but one which we are sure will be worthwhile in enabling us to bless the next generation with a church building that is restored to its former glory, and at the same time able to be used flexibly and in different ways to meet the needs of those who gather in it.
November 2016 saw the completion of our electric heating installation. This was a great relief as we had not had heating for 2 years previously. Although it is viewed as a temporary system by the Diocese we are hopeful that it will prove effective and worthy of forming the basis of any longer term heating solution.
December 2017 saw the arrival of our new chairs. we spent 2017 raising money and finding new homes for our pews. We also spent most of the year sitting on folding plastic chairs for our services but at Christmas this all became worthwhile as we saw the new chairs in church and what an impact they have made. Of course our ultimate aim is not to see the chairs because they are all filled with people but for now we are enjoying the flexibility that they are giving us. Find out more here
In 2018 we have a number of projects on the go at various stages of progress:
- Window repairs – these were repairs identified by our 5 yearly inspection and have been granted a faculty. We have received generous donations from the Erskine-Muton fund and also a promised grant from the Dorset Historic Churches Trust once the work is completed – hopefully by Autumn 2018.
- New fixed ladder for the bell tower – our bell ringing team have become an important asset to our church and there has long been a requirement for a safer access to the ringing chamber in order to fit out the bells for ‘virtual ringing’ or general maintenance. The new ladder will provide this.
- Tomb Repairs – We have had a site survey of the various chest and wall tombs inside and outside the church. A number of them need significant work to restore them and ensure they are safe. Although technically the responsibility of the families involved it is very difficult to trace families from over 100years ago so we are seeking various funding to help this work.
- New Sound and visuals system – we have been using a portable, temporary sound system for a number of years and this, among other things, has prevented us from leaving the church open as well as struggling to proved adequate sound and visuals for our various services. We are looking to install a modern, discrete and sympathetic sound system with the facility to use visual images too. We are also hopeful to be able to apply to a local fund to help us with the finances for this project.
- Further down the line we would love to restore the ceiling in the nave to the barrel vaulting similar to the chancel, back to how it was before it was dismantled in the 1960’s during an investigation into possible damp ingress. Whilst we are up in the rafters we recognise that an upgraded lighting system would also be helpful, in terms of visibility as well as safety.
- A long term aim is to relay the whole floor to make it flat and easier to walk/roll on. We recognise that this is best done after the ceiling and other high works that may need a tower.
We are excited about these different projects as they help to make our church more welcoming, accessible and flexible for our future worship the worship of the next generation. Do speak to us if you have a particular skill in any of the areas mentioned as we always welcome new team members to work alongside us.