Building Vision - Update September 2015

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.

It is important that you have your say. Richard Giles talked to us about the subject in January, and that was followed by a meeting of parishioners to discuss the matter. In June, the discussion was opened to a wider audience, some parishioners, but mainly for the wider community. All these discussions prompted an active response, and, happily, a substantial amount of agreement for the way forward.

You will know that we have asked some expert consultants to assess the building as it stands today. They have been looking at the structure, the heating/plumbing/etc, and the acoustics. A further study is ongoing until next spring, looking at the transport of heat and moisture in the building. The results so far have shown that the building is in pretty good condition, but there are some specific areas we need to bring up to a better standard. The most important of these is some work on the roof space – it gets very hot and humid in the summer, and some joists need strengthening (though this is not as expensive as you might imagine). The church is also surprisingly damp, something that we can do something about during re-ordering.

For the repairs and the re-organisation and updating of the church, we need professional help and guidance. The project team involved has been visiting quite a number of churches, and talking to priests, churchwardens, parishioners. Even more important, it has been seeking the right architect, and has been interviewing quite a number over the last few months. The architectural practice chosen is the St Ann’s Gate practice, based in Salisbury. The main architect involved, and the prime contact, is one of the two senior partners, Antony Feltham-King. Despite the distance from Salisbury, Antony is involved in quite a lot of work in our part of Gloucestershire: he is the lead architect for the ongoing re-ordering of Cirencester Church, and for Project Pilgrim – the work on the entrance area of Gloucester Cathedral.

Antony is taking a long view. We may not want, and may not be able, to do everything at once. He will suggest what he would recommend overall, and then discuss it with us, perhaps later this year, to come to an agreed way forward. Having decided together the overall plan, we can decide what permissions we need from church and state, what we do first, how we arrange it, how we fund it, who does what – all the normal things! All this has to be done before we change anything, so the most likely timing for the first stage remains the summer of 2017.

It is an exciting time. All sorts of things are possible, and we are in a better position than most, thanks to the David Thomas Trust. Overall, though, we need to remember that we must leave a legacy that not only meets our needs now, but that people can be proud of, for many years to come.

Howard Browning