First, may I apologise for the gap since the last Bulletin I issued in November. The trouble is, as you will have noticed, there has been very little activity at the church, except the replacing of the plastic sheeting over the tower roof whenever the wind has torn it off!
The current snowy weather reminds me of the snow we had last April, just a few weeks after the fire, when it looked quite stark and ominous – that was when the photo was taken that was on our Christmas card. (Thanks to Fiona who took the pictures …)
You will, I hope, be pleased to know that in this apparent absence of action, we have been busy behind the scenes, preparing detailed documents that will form the basis for the insurance company settlement. This has now been submitted, and I am anticipating that once their engineers have looked over the paperwork, we shall enter a not-too-lengthy process of negotiation to reach an agreed settlement.
Once this is done, we will know what budget we have to work with to rebuild the church.
Alongside this, we have been exploring the next stages in rebuilding, and the architect has been working on an initial brief gathered together from a comprehensive survey we did some months ago with church members.
Some of the important elements which we hope will be part of the new church are as follows :
The view of the church from the main road should remain unchanged
The new church should have toilet facilities and basic kitchen facilities (currently in the old church room, which is on its last legs)
There should be more flexibility within the building so that it can be used more during the week by the local community (without compromising the excellent facilities already in the village).
There should be some basic office facilities for future incumbents (currently a deteriorating shed in the garden of the Vicarage !)
There should be the opportunity to have the church open more during the week for people to visit for pastoral and spiritual needs.
We should use sustainable energy sources for heating and lighting where possible
Basically, this brings together the facilities that are currently in the old church room and the shed into one place, providing more regular access and more flexible use for the church and community.
There will of course be some structural differences – it is almost certain that we will not be able to replace all the stained glass windows with the original designs, through the Millennium window can be remade as it was. Modern building regulations will also determine how we proceed with construction, especially for these extra facilities.
At the moment, these are ideas rather than specific plans, but once permissions have been given to go ahead with this idea and detailed plans are drawn up, there will be a public consultation to present these plans and fine-tune any specifics. I will, of course, let everyone know when that will be once we get to that stage.
In the meantime, if anyone has any creative suggestions, do please get in touch (email is probably best if you can – firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can add them to the general discussions.
The restoration of St Nicholas Church gives us the opportunity to provide a thoughtful and prayerful facility for the village which can be used, enjoyed and loved by the community for future generations. Do please pray for us as we move ahead slowly, even when you can’t see anything happening at the church – and thank you once again for all your support.
With my best wishes
Rev Martin Green