THE 6P’s APPEAL – THE FINAL PUSH
When one takes a stock check of the 6P’s Appeal, there is much that is pleasing and, ably led by our Church Wardens, the Parish thoroughly deserves a collective pat on the back. Indeed we are all enjoying the benefits of the fruits of our labour. I write this because, when we set out our vision back in 2016, a huge task lay ahead. Much preliminary work had been carried out and we knew what we wanted but, while it is one thing having the dream, fulfilling it is when the real hard work begins.
Whatever, armed with £400,000 from the David Thomas Trust, we set out to raise a total of £1,300,000 which, it was calculated, would eventually present a re-ordered Church in pristine condition. To date we have raised £825,000. This has come from trusts (£588,712), legacies (£25,938), other church funds (£6,484), gifts from local companies (£10,300), sponsored chairs and choir stalls (£54,233), gifts and covenants from individuals which includes Gift Aid (£93,602) and fund raising activities (£45,670). It has been a monumental effort by all concerned. What has this money achieved? Basically, we have replaced a cold, damp, decaying, inflexible church where one could not hear what was going on with a warm, dry, flexible space that can seat 300 in comfort, with everyone hearing what is going on. This not only enhances our worship but also provides a wonderful concert hall, lecture auditorium, venue for public meetings and answer for the many other needs that our community might require. In other words, the church has been transformed and for the better.
Why then do we need more money?
First, we haven’t quite finished what I would describe as the creative side of the re-ordering. When we set out back in 2016, we also wanted to make our church not only a welcoming place to worship but also a friendly hub for the community. This is very important. The Church of England, in the early nineteenth century, had a reputation for not being outgoing and, in many ways, this helped spawn the Methodist movement. Others, like William Blake, the poet, felt that the then church reflected the power of the state and not the spirituality that he was seeking:
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door,
So I turn‘d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore. (William Blake 1757-1827)
We would all like to think of our church as a warm, welcoming space that belongs to our community but,while we do not have ‘Thou shalt not’ written above our door, the visitor is confronted by a large pair of solid wooden doors (left and right) that can appear formidable, if not impenetrable. This we want to change so that we can transform our entrance into a beckoning place. The plans have been drawn up and planning permission has been submitted. In addition, a Diocesan faculty has been granted but this runs out at the end of 2019. The project will cost £50,000 and, at the time of writing, we are still £25,000 short. While there are still some covenants, together with their Gift Aid, coming in, it is not enough.
What can we do about it?
The obvious thing is to find more chair sponsors. Surely we, as a parish, can find 50 more people to commemorate chairs. We are chasing down all those who have been married, baptised and confirmed in the church. Many have already sponsored chairs but if 50 more chair sponsors can be found it would raise £10,000. What else? You can support fundraising events and, better still, as some parishioners have, think up some schemes yourself. Finally, if you were thinking of a gift/covenant for the 6P’s Appeal, now would be an excellent time to do it. Whatever, one collective heave from us all should see the creative part of the 6P’s Appeal completed by Christmas. I am confident that we can get it done.
What then? Well we still have to maintain our heritage and the two prime stained glass windows (above the High Altar and in the Lady Chapel) both require major repairs. So, too, does the organ and we hope that grants will materialise for these important projects. But that, at the moment, is for the future.
6 P's Update - August 2018
THE 6Ps CAMPAIGN CONTINUES ONWARD TOWARDS THE TARGET.
It is hard to realise that nearly two years have passed since the launch of the campaign but we can look back on a time of considerable achievement. The first phase, and much of the second phase, have been completed and the funds raised to pay for it. Readers will recall that we estimated that the total project would cost in the region of £1.25 million and many would be forgiven for thinking at the time that we were setting ourselves a very daunting challenge. In order to complete the work carried out so far the contribution from the campaign amounts to over £ 721,000 and just over half our estimate for the whole project.
It is worth pausing for a while to reflect on how this remarkable achievement has come about, never forgetting the enormous generosity of the late David Thomas, whose trust provided the whole basis upon which we were able to build the re-ordering of our Church. With this as a starting point the clergy, churchwardens, PCC and numerous volunteers were galvanised into action to address the overall problems thrown up by the various studies into the condition of the building. Various groups were formed to plan the action required and one of these was fundraising.
Applications were made to other trusts and local companies and events were organised-not the least of which the auction of promises brought in over £12,000. Remarkably over £100,000 was donated by individuals many of whom are not Church members but who saw the benefit to the community as a whole. We are extremely grateful to all these individual donors, not only for their generosity, but also for our being able to demonstrate to trustees of trusts that we have this support. In addition a separate campaign was launched to encourage people to purchase individual chairs and if they so wish to have a dedication on them. There are still a small number of chairs not bought and we hope they may attract interest.
All of this activity has now put us into the position of being able to commence on fund raising for the remaining phases of the project and we will hopefully be able to tackle them one by one. The items outlined at the time of the launch for the second phase which have not yet been carried out are the nave altar and dais and a new sound system. In the case of the former we have a generous donor and the latter we estimate will cost £75,000.
Moving on to the last phase we have the revision of the entrance to make it more welcoming, the lighting and the organ. The estimate for the entry system is £65,000 and the lighting £143,000. The situation with the organ is that as it stands, without some considerable remedial work, we can only expect another five years of acceptable performance. It is we are assured a very unique instrument and therefore it seems essential we should try and fund the over £300,000 that will be required to fully restore it.
It is truly wonderful that we have got to the stage relatively quickly whereby we have in most people’s opinion a vastly improved building with the serious damp problems previously identified now addressed and the time to remount our efforts to complete the project. With a combination of further applications to trusts, some more events and assistance from individual donors we are optimistic that , bearing in mind our previous success, we can complete the “ planning for posterity”.
6 P's Update - January 2017
An update on the financial progress of the 6Ps Appeal
Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present, Planning for Posterity.
By the time you read this all our services will be taking place back in our Church and we will have been able to see the excellent progress that has been made in implementing Phase One of the re-ordering process. It seems therefore to be an appropriate time to review where we are in our fundraising campaign and to assess what more we have to do to achieve our objective of “Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present and Planning for Posterity”.
Much of the first two has been done and more will follow in the New Year. In our original article we anticipated the overall estimate would be in the region of £1.25 million. Once we have firm estimates for the further stages it looks as if the overall cost may well be close to that figure, despite the fact that we have encountered problems along the way that have added unforeseen amounts to the total. We must congratulate and thank the many people involved on the project for the great way that many difficulties have been faced and solved.
Turning to the fundraising itself the grand total promised is almost exactly £700.000 and is very close to covering all of the first phase. Obviously we were so fortunate to have a wonderful start with the generous donation from the David Thomas Trust but an additional £300,000 has been raised from-other trusts, local companies, fundraising events and individual donations. The latter item accounts for well over £100,000 of which a significant proportion has come from members of the community in addition to Church members. We are so grateful to both groups of people particularly as it emphasises that this is a community project and not solely a matter for the Church. We are also so thankful to all those who have organised events of all sizes, and local companies for their generosity.
We now have to turn our attention to financing the remaining work for the first two phases and tackling the third phase” Planning for Posterity”. We have run a campaign within a campaign to obtain donations for the chairs. This has been very rewarding in that approximately two thirds of the cost has been contributed and it is our hope that we can continue to fund the rest in a similar manner particularly as it gives people the opportunity to both commemorate events and remember those people significant in their lives.
The remaining items identified at the start of our campaign are as follows :
1 A more welcoming entry
2 New Sound system
3.Lady Chapel Chairs.
5.Nave Altar and dais
We are in the process of refining the original estimates for this work which can be carried out as we raise the additional funds. Some, such as the organ-the most expensive-will become projects in themselves, and there are different trusts that can be approached for funding. Many as a principle require us to match their donations so we will need to continue our various fundraising activities as vigorously as before. At the same time some of these specific items may attract donors who have a particular interest in one or other of them.
As has been previously noted we have already done extremely well in a relatively short space of time. Once we have completed the new entry system the disruptive work will be finished and we will be able to benefit from everything we have so far achieved. That, we hope, will give us the impetus to go on and finish what we are sure will stand for many years to come as a magnificent achievement.
6 P's Update - November 2017
And we’re still on for Advent! The original programme left us two weeks to clear up before Advent. The unexpected need to remove asbestos took three weeks we weren’t expecting, but our architect, builder, archaeologist, structural engineer and under-floor heating experts have worked hard for us – thanks to them we are still on time.
Protecting the Past All our experts and building team have been trying to understand the role that the big water tank under the sacristy plays in our overall drainage of the north side of the church. Recent rains have shown that rainwater drains in to it at one side, and drains out of it on the other. This is not instantaneous, so the tank acts as a holding tank while the water finds a way out, emptying and filling the tank. Chiz the archaeologist has duly donned his long breather (he’s suitably qualified) and been lowered in to investigate (upside down!). The tank has been shown to be in good condition, so it has been “closed-up” with a new manhole on top. This allows the floor to be laid, the heating installed, and the sacristy can then be fitted out.
We’re a little further back on drainage in the middle of the nave. The drain laid by the Georgians or Victorians, which was found to be broken under the middle of the nave and has therefore been a major cause of dampness in the church. It has now been replaced north-south right across the nave by a modern uPVC drainpipe, in a single run. This needs to be connected to the gutters and drainpipes to the north, and this is in progress. Rebuilding the outflow to the south, though, has yet to be finalized – there is a helpful gradient downwards, but the outflow path through the graveyard will need much thought and sensitivity because it is, after all, a graveyard.
As part of the current programme we are replacing the 28-year-old old technology boiler (condemned by the asbestos people) with two modern condensing ones, operating in tandem as recommended by the heating engineers. The flue has been troublesome, though – the old one needs replacing, but its tortuous path through the building caused the engineers in the past to choose to join and fix it to the masonry in an unhelpful way. Our engineers have therefore had to erect a scaffold to take the old liner out, and put a new one in – you can see the scaffold to the right of the main door. We are trying to take this opportunity, of having a scaffold in the right place, to install some ventilation into the roof-space over the nave, since that has been shown to generate very high temperatures and humidities in summer, bad for the softwood trusses which hold the roof up.
Preserving the Present We have been involved in digging out the foundations, putting in place specifically-designed reinforced concrete “panels” to protect sensitive areas, building up with hardcore, then RFG (recycled foamed glass) to allow the area to breathe, laying a small particle slate layer over a geotextile to create an absolutely flat surface (checked by laser) and finally laying “Fermacell” boards to act as a base for our under-floor heating. This essentially completes the foundations for the floor, which runs, flat , throughout the nave, lower chancel, sacristy and choir vestry. This base will then be used to build up the heating layers, with a terra-cotta tile top layer, which will be the floor used during Advent. The final limestone tiles will be laid early in 2018.
You have seen the chairs that we will use in December – 40 have already been delivered to the Porch Room. By end-November, we will have a total of 300. They will be used throughout, including the choir, but the choir will need a stand in front of them, to read the music, and to store the amazing amount that they carry round with them. Stands are currently being made by a local craftsman – we think that you will like them.
We have decided to take our time in moving the rood screen, and building a storage unit outside the north door, near the kitchen (largely for storing the staging). Those changes will now happen in Advent/New Year. The rood screen, in particular, needs to be measured and moved by a specialist, and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (and us) will need to be satisfied that we are treating one of the treasures of our church with the respect that it deserves.
So, we will have our church back in the first few days of December. The church itself can celebrate Christmas, and there are also a number of choral concerts planned – the Stuart Singers and Cappella Singers, in particular. One thing worries the Building Team, though – please, ladies, don’t wear stilettos to the church in Advent and Christmas! – it might just test the terra-cotta layer to destruction!
Structure below the terra-cotta
In the New Year, and potentially up to Easter, we will be laying the final limestone layer, on top of the terra-cotta. The stone we plan to use will be two different stone qualities from a quarry in Ancaster, Lincolnshire. This is not as strange as it might appear, as the limestone there is the same seam as the Cotswolds, but that seam goes underground through the home counties, and reappears in Lincolnshire. The advantage is that the limestone there is much harder, and more suitable for floors. There are two similar qualities in the same quarry – one buff, one blue, but not so different as their names might suggest. We intend to use a combination – mainly buff, but with patterns picked out in the blue. A similar effect was used in the re-ordering project in Holy Trinity, Bradford-on-Avon:
Planning for Posterity We have been more successful than many churches which have undertaken re-ordering projects, in raising the finance. The David Thomas Trust, a series of other trusts, and very generous donations from individuals or groups have got us to a state where we can be confident that we will complete the project in its minimum form. However, we have always talked about a “Stage 1” which includes the various storage cupboards, and makes a more attractive entrance, with glass doors and roof-light, and which doesn’t lead you directly into the kitchen and loos. The Building Team are still working on this, and would welcome further donations where they can be afforded, whether for chairs, or more generally. Meanwhile, think of the future. There are several other areas that we ought to consider, but can we just mention one – acoustics and audio-visual. Acousticians did an early survey in 2015, showing that the acoustics were on the resonant side – good for music, but less good for speech – and variable in different parts of the church (Why can’t you appreciate concerts so well if you are in some specific places well away from the stage?). However, they could not measure the need properly until we had a new floor, and knew how it would be furnished, how the organ sounded, etc. After Easter, we can re-measure. Then, we can decide what we need to do: do we need baffles, sound-deadening drapes in specific places, redesign of the organ grille in the north aisle, etc?. Then we can really decide the best way forward for acoustics, and what we need as the best audio-visual system for the future.
Following Progress. We are fortunate in having a splendid web-site, and last month we referred you for an archaeological viewpoint to Chiz Harvard's blog. You may also know that Alan Vaughan is videoing progress, in a stop-frame video, and we shall be looking at how that can be shared more widely when we have reached a suitable point.
Howard Browning and Mandy Jutsum, Churchwardens
6 P's Update - October 2017
How are we doing? The 6P’s campaign – protecting the past, preserving the present, planning for posterity.
The main news is that we’re still on schedule for Advent!
A great deal has been achieved since 29th August when work began on the church so much so that we felt it important to share developments with all of you who have and are supporting the 6P’s campaign.
Protecting the past:
Chiz Harward, the archeologist, has been investigating the uncovered floor area left by the Victorians which has all been documented and recorded for a final report. His blog at (http://urban-archaeology.blogspot.com). or through the church website www.minchchurch.org.uk makes for fascinating reading. Selected artifacts are taken for careful analysis, dating, photographing and eventual storage. One of particular importance is the “Mason's setting out drawing inscribed on a limestone slab, the drawing appears to match the finished tracery of the side windows of the mid 14th century south transept.” The hope is that this will eventually be on display in the church. Prior to building up the floor, the architect, archeologist, structural engineer and builder have been collaborating very closely to ensure that tombs and graves in the floor are protected whilst a firm base is developed over them on which the floor and heating system can be installed. The Past is being Protected.
The pews have mostly been re-housed locally including 26 in Minchinhampton Rugby Club changing rooms! We’ve asked people to send us photos of their relocated pews for the scrap book.
Preserving the Present Water water everywhere! You will be familiar with the extremely high levels of damp in the building recorded over the last couple of years. Of the contributory factors there are two recent discoveries:
- a blocked drainage culvert found running under the church which, it has been decided, will act as a useful route for rainwater disposal from the north to the south side of church. The disposal of rain water from the north side of the building has been a problem under discussion for some time now; the culvert provides a neat and cost effective solution which does not involve any additional digging into sensitive areas. Left unattended this blocked drain would probably have eventually led to the collapse of the stone floor above it.
- a cistern has been discovered under the sacristy. This will be drained and safely investigated towards the best solution.
October and November will see the building up of the floor and the installation by Jupiter of the new heating system. The layers of material under the stone floor will include a substantial amount of insulation to ensure the effectiveness of the system. The terracotta tiles, which go on top of the heating pipes, will assist in providing the radiant type of heat recommended for the preservation of ancient buildings. All of this will contribute to reducing the extreme dampness and the damage to the fabric that this has been happening: preserving both past and present.
Planning for Posterity
The Architect, Antony Feltham King and Nick Miles, the builder, are in close liaison with the Church Wardens and Building Group. Applications for grants are ongoing. With the new more welcoming entrance porch in mind, Fund raising continues, overseen by the Fund Raising Group, but in some cases instigated independently by interested people: the (shared with Horsfall House) Open Gardens in July raised £1,275 for the church; yoga classes on Monday afternoons continue and have now raised nearly £1,000; promises from the promises Auction are still being fulfilled. Other events include the Rectory tea in July which raised £483 whilst future events include: a coffee morning (cake and bacon butties) on Saturday 18th November 10.30 – 12 noon; a wine/cheese tasting evening in January/February 2018; the possibility of a medieval banquet later in 2018 when we’re back on our feet!
The Porch room currently hosts 40 of the 300 new chairs with the rest due to be delivered at the end of November including the recommended 5% of chairs with arms. Sponsorship has been received for 150 chairs 64 with plaques. The chair sponsorship campaign has been taken out to local businesses and organisations with some success. Much discussion has gone into the design of the choir stands with Chris Thompson, a well known local furniture maker. At £835 each, they accommodate two people, will be movable, oak laminated and with the Holy Trinity sign, so apparent throughout the church and church yard, being carved on the front. The prototype looks very beautiful. Sponsorship for two choir stands has been received and more is hoped for.
We will be back in church during December, albeit with a red terracotta floor: the beautiful limestone flooring, again with the pattern of the Holy Trinity inlaid into it, will be laid early next year: the church gradually returning to normal ready for Easter. Following this: a dedication service and celebratory party is planned; weddings are being booked and requests for the church as a concert venue are coming in. There is much to look forward to: the planning for posterity has only just begun!
Thank you again to all who have supported the 6P’s campaign. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any queries. Updates will continue to be given on the church website, in the Parish Magazine, and in the weekly church news (green sheet). The last two can be collected from the Porch room at almost any time along with the 6P’s campaign leaflets (yellow); chair sponsorship forms and reordering gift aid envelopes (white). These items are all on top of the cupboards at the back of the Porch room for people to help themselves.
The Theo Chair
The Victorian Society recently commended ‘the Parish for its choice of Theo replacement chairs’- if you would like to sponsor a chair(s) in memory of a loved one, to mark a special occasion or simply contribute towards chair(s) pick up a leaflet at the back of church or download one by clicking on the image below. Talk to the church wardens: Howard or Mandy.
Fund Raising Concert - 1 April
Auction of Promises
Six Ps Update 12 November 2016
Christmas Nearly New Sale - 19 November
Re-ordering Plans for Holy Trinity Church
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.
In the presentation, I reminded us that we have to address the problems with our church building: namely, damp, humidity and heating issues; acoustic problems: disabled access; flexibility of space for both church and for community - our traditional role as a superb concert venue, for instance. The brief we gave the architect asked him to address these issues and ensure that there were alternative locations for the focus of worship - the high altar in the Chancel, which we will continue to use as appropriate, a nave altar, and the preservation of the essential character of the Lady Chapel as a place for smaller services and private prayer. We may not have the money to do everything yet, but we are in the fortunate position to do the majority.
Heating, Seating, Flooring
The first issue will be to address issues of heating, seating and flooring. The proposal is to remove the pews and their wooden platforms (which probably rest simply on the earth) and install an under-floor heating system based on hot water pipes, and create a new level stone floor from the entrance to the steps at the high altar. This raising the whole floor to one level - that of the chancel. A slight gradient at the entrance to achieve this will be no more than the camber you get on an ordinary road. To give maximum flexibility to the building, the proposal presented suggested chairs which connect, and the samples provided are still in church if you would like to try them out! The sets of chairs would be easily movable, and could be readily stacked when not in use.
The Rood Screen and the Lady Chapel Photograph created by the architect with the rood screen removed. The proposal is to make the most of our rood screen by moving it 90° into the archway between chancel and Lady Chapel. This has the advantage of opening up the chancel both in terms of accessibility to the high altar and chancel (we currently suffer from bottle-necks on Sundays!) and opening up the view to the glorious East window and beautiful and unusual painted chancel ceiling. It also helps to enclose the Lady Chapel and keep it as a place set apart for quiet prayer. The rood beam will remain where it is.
The Chancel and Choir The chancel will remain as it is, but with the present choir stalls removed and some new, specially designed moveable choir stalls that accommodate music stands. This means the chancel can be cleared of these when we need that space opening up, but means also that the choir can be gathered behind a nave altar, rather than lined up at the sides of the chancel. The point is there will be greater flexibility for where the choir needs to be for both individual services and for particular parts of the services.
Nave and High Altar The proposals included a nave altar on a moveable dais, and so capable of being moved - and removed - when required. A new altar table, worthy of its liturgical significance, will be designed for this. These plans enable us to continue to use both a nave altar and a high altar, according to what the services we offer demand. The proposals over moveable choir stalls also means that the chancel can be used as a small chapel for services of up to 50 people - a space we currently lack and desperately need, where we can place seating in the chancel facing the high altar. This will create an intimate and beautiful space to worship.
The Font The proposals include moving the font from the side in the baptistery as you come in, to a central position in the baptistery. Theologically, this is significant! The font is always near the door, for it is our entry point into the Church, and our life is lived between font and altar. To have it central returns it to its paramount importance in our journey of faith: baptism is supposed to be inconvenient! It is supposed to interrupt our lives and enable us to live differently, and therefore our walking around the font as we enter church helps us to remember this. The font, high altar and pulpit will become the only fixed points in the church. With everything else moveable, we will create a truly flexible space which meets current needs and the needs of future generations, who will be able to use the space as they wish.
Entrance to Church and New Storage It is proposed that glass doors replace current entrance doors, making the building more welcoming and inviting to visitors. A new storage area, leading off from the 'back door' between the toilets and kitchen, will enable us to house the large staging we have for concerts (currently stored behind ugly boards at the back of the church, taking up an inordinate amount of space) as well as the extra seating for when we have large events and need to seat 300.
Final Comment It is worth remembering that the vast majority of the building stays exactly the same. We are opening up the flexibility to better serve our worship and our community needs. To do this, we are really developing a more comfortable, flexible space and moving the furniture round, rather than anything else. We look forward to updating you on progress through this process as we seek to care for, maintain and enhance this wonderful building!