I can’t believe I’m sat at my desk writing the Vicar’s letter for the September magazine. This year is quite literally flying by! I hope you managed to enjoy some time of rest and relaxation during the summer and the opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends. We had a lovely holiday together although it seems a long time ago now!
Coming back to normality and getting back into working mode is often difficult after a good break, but as I begin to think about the new term and the next ‘academic’ year that lies ahead I know it’s going to be a busy one. We have a lot to be excited about in the next 12 months.
It begins with our Parish weekend to Cloverley Hall in Shropshire this month. It’s a brilliant opportunity to spend time together as a church family and to receive some excellent teaching. (You’ll hear all about it in next months letter). We are privileged to be hosting the Confirmation service at St. Anne’s in October which will follow our next ‘What if?’ course. October will also see our Harvest celebrations and our second Bright Lights Party (Alternative Halloween party) and a return of the very successful ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ evening. That’s just two months – as you can see, we are becoming a busy church – which is brilliant!
All of this helps to consolidate the reason why we need to make changes to our church building so that we can really make use of the resources we have. Our ‘Space 2 Grow’ project is gathering momentum and at this early stage I thought I would take this opportunity to bring you up to date with developments.
At this stage various things have happened, the PCC have agreed unanimously to move forward with the proposals to re-order the west end of church, this will include a glazed partition incorporating a double tier, we will have new toilet and kitchen facilities, disabled access and improved heating and lighting. You will be aware in April, at our Annual Meeting, the ‘West End Redevelopment Committee’ launched these proposals after 12 months of hard work. We needed to raise £30,000 in order to move forward to the next stage. So began a period of ‘soft’ fund raising. This was mainly through individuals carrying out various activities, and through people kindly donating towards the project. I am so thrilled with the response and I am delighted to tell you that we have now raised over the £30,000 required. THANK YOU!!!! So what does that mean?
Well we can now move forward to the next phase. We have instructed the Architect to proceed with the detailed design drawings, these ‘full design’ drawings will take about 3 months to produce and will be needed in order to proceed with our application for a ‘Faculty’ (official permission to proceed with the proposals). Due to the churches Grade II* listed status, throughout this stage we will be in constant discussions with various interested bodies ie. English Heritage, Victorian Society, Georgian Society, Church Building Council etc. asking for their help and advice.
It is during this stage that we will begin to think about the finer details of the project and most importantly funding. We are aware that this is a huge undertaking and have been advised that we are looking at well over half a million pounds to complete. We now need to begin to think about how we will generate what seems a daunting amount of money. (whilst remembering that God is ultimately in control!)
We are looking at various grants that we may be eligible for but we do need people with skills in writing grant applications to come forward. If you have experience in this field and are willing to help out, please do get in contact. We also need help with other areas of fund raising, maybe you work for a company who may we willing to support a charity project, maybe you own a company and would be willing to sponsor part of this project, ie. A new kitchen etc. Maybe you could consider leaving a legacy to St. Anne’s in your Will – there is no greater way of ensuring that your church will continue to thrive in the future.
We also need to think about fundraising events, both great and small. (as Tesco say – Every Penny Helps!) This is a brilliant time for us to come together as a church family, to pull together so that we can succeed with the greater vision. Over the next couple of years this has to be our focus and we need to remain motivated. If you have any suggestions or if you think you have skills that can be of help in this venture please do come forward.
I am hugely excited about what lies ahead, in the coming years I see our church transformed into a building that is fit for purpose, a building that will be equipped for mission, a building that will be beacon in this community, a building where we as the family of God are able reach out in order to bring people in, but above all I see the building as a place of mission, where we can worship God in a variety of ways both young and old. Do continue to pray for this project using our special prayer
Dear Lord, We give thanks for Your goodness. We pray for Your guidance, wisdom and provision as we embark on this exciting new project – ‘Space2Grow’ .Give us courage to step out in faith, a boldness to give and a hunger to see Your church transformed, that St. Anne’s will truly be a ‘Space 2 Grow’ in faith! Amen