For some time now Minchinhampton has been looking at what to do about a re-ordering of its building. Some generous funds are available specifically for this project, but during the vacancy, all plans had to be put on hold. A small group, comprising The Rector, the Church Wardens and David Goldsmith, with the aid of Katie Jarvis in our communications, has begun to take up the project, and we are very clear that the first stage in this before anything else is proper information and communication, followed by consultation. This will be with both the church community and the wider community, as we begin to discuss the purpose of our building and what needs improving as we seek to make our place of worship the best it can be for both ourselves andothers in our community.
We were lucky enough to welcome author and retired priest Richard Giles recently (January 17) - not only a delightful companion but an acknowledged expert in renovating churches. Around 90 of us attended his revelatory illustrated talk on reordering churches, in which he invited the congregation to think about how Holy Trinity could be made more accessible, flexible, warm and welcoming for current and future worshippers, and for larger outside groups. That vision can now become reality, thanks to the church having been granted £400,000 from the legacy of David Thomas through the David Thomas Trust Fund. David was one of our valued congregation members who died three years ago. The money has been given specifically for the purposes of the re-ordering.
What We Did Previously
In December 2011 a detailed opinion survey was carried out for the Parochial Church Council. There were three groups of consultees whose responses were analysed separately:-
1. Worshippers at all services at Holy Trinity Church on two consecutive Sundays (27th November and 4th December, 2011).
2. Members of the audience at concerts on 9th and 10th December 2011.
3. Readers of the Parish magazine for December 2011.
Reshaping the layout and interior
Fourteen potential architects have now been shortlisted to six who, on the advice of the Diocesan Advisory Committee, are being visited in their practices by the team for informal discussions about our project here at Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton. By the end of April we aim to have a shortlist of three architects to invite for formal interview later in May.
Many of you will know that Holy Trinity has been fortunate to have been given a substantial sum of money from the David Thomas Trust, specifically for re-ordering Holy Trinity.
So what is re-ordering? It is essentially re-organisation and up-dating of the church to make it more appropriate for today’s needs, as a place of worship, and as a place where other activities can take place, such as our current use of the space for music events. Re-ordering is not new. The church used to have galleries down either side, the organ used to be at the west end of the church, rather than in the north transept. In the last century we have put up the rood screen and beam, built the Porch Room, updated the kitchen area, improved the outside lighting, and some pews have been taken out at various times to make more free space in the Lady Chapel and the Baptistry.
Put Saturday 5th March in your diary and come along to Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton to view the first draft of the architect's plans for the re-ordering, set to begin Easter 2017.
The Rector, churchwardens and the building group will be on hand from 10am until 12 noon to answer your questions and discuss what is being proposed as we make much-needed alterations to the interior of the church.
At 10.15am, a short presentation will be given, to explain the proposals. There will be plenty of opportunity to then discuss them in more detail with a member of the building group team.
This is the first time the plans will be available to view and we stress that they are a first working draft to which we are inviting response. We would love to show you what we hope to do, to make our church a better and more flexible space for everybody. The plans will remain on display for several weeks.
If you have not yet visited Minchinhampton Church to see the architect's first draft of proposals for the re-ordering, then please do go and take a look at the displays, plans and photographs in church. After presenting them to the local community on 5th March, we are continuing to assess your feedback and comments. Thank you for such wonderful responses. The building project team are feeling very encouraged by your comments. The plans will remain on view over the next few weeks, as we take it on to the next stage. Our meeting with the DAC - The Diocesan Advisory Committee - is in the diary and we are busy applying for further grants and setting up a fund-raising campaign to raise the additional capital we need. We are delighted to be working with the Market House, as we seek to endorse one another's plans and provide complementary not competitive spaces within our community. By the time this goes to press, we should have the proper breakdown of projected costs for the plans. We are currently on target for beginning the actual work immediately after Easter 2017.
Meanwhile, it seemed helpful to give a summary of the plans that were presented.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH MINCHINHAMPTON
Protecting the Past. Preserving the Present. Planning for Posterity.
Most people, reading this article, will be aware that our church has embarked on a bold initiative to protect and preserve this beautiful building. Many will have participated in the various consultation processes where the way forward has been planned. The discussions and suggestions made have greatly helped us to progress.
To set forth on a venture of this nature is not for the faint hearted. Holy Trinity has existed on its present location since 1086 and has been and still is the heart of the town, not only in its ecclesiastical role, but also as a contributor to the cohesive life of the parish. Most people’s lives have, in one way or another, been touched by its presence. However, all is not well with the state of the building and action needs to be taken if we are to achieve the headline of this article.
Reordering is a term which is bandied about by a number of us as a sort of shorthand for things happening at Holy Trinity, Minchinhampton. What does it mean?
I am not a great fan of Wikipedia (many aren’t!), but it has some useful comments about reordering. It talks about changes and adaptations in religious buildings, introduction of secular activities into the building, while retaining its primary religious purpose. Thinking about it, we do this already. It talks about Richard Giles as a leader in this field, and many of you will remember that he came to Minchinhampton to talk to us about the subject in January 2015. It also talks about the leading manifestation of it in All Saints, Hereford: we took the building project team there soon after we heard Richard Giles, and yes, we saw their new café area, use of the space for activities such as arts and crafts exhibitions and other activities of general interest – but we have already been moving that way with the building of the Porch Room and the kitchen in the 1970’s, and the updating of the kitchen to modern standards together with new lavatories, only a few years ago. However, All Saints pressed ahead with their updating of their church, spent £1.7m, but found that now 2000 people patronise the café each week, and the worship attendances have increased four-fold.