In 2016 St. Andrews Church began a major project that saw many years of planning come to fruition. The project is called a ‘re-ordering’ as its aim is to ‘re-order’ the inside of the church so that it has facilities that are fit for the modern world and so that the church can adapt to the needs of the local community and the congregations of the benefice.
Many years of planning, preparation and fundraising has gone towards the project so far. It all came together in late 2016 with the removal of many of the fixed Victorian box pews from the church. Eight of the historical pews have been left at the rear of the church but the rest were removed and donated to recently restored St. Helen’s Church that forms part of the Beamish Museum in County Durham, as the photos above show. This left space in St. Andrews for much more flexible seating, and a large number of new red and grey chairs and tables have since been purchased so that we have flexible seating arrangements throughout. At this point the project was truly in business!
Below is a link to the floor plan which shows an outline of some of the ambitious developments that we hope to take on to re-model the church so that it is fit for 21st Century use.
The plans started to become a reality when in mid-2017 the congregation moved out and the builders moved in! This picture shows what St. Andrews was like once everyone had moved out and the building was ready for the workmen. This image focuses towards the 3 south bays – each of which was due to be turned into a new purpose-built space. This was to be the largest and most noticeable part of the project to date.
By December 2017 the three south bays had been completed, providing glazed screens to a new kitchen, meeting room and enlarged vestry/office. The dais had also been enlarged, a new disabled toilet had been created at the rear of the church (no photo inside this for the obvious reason!) and many of the internal monuments had been moved to create these workable spaces. The font had also been adjusted to remove the step beneath it and preparation work had begun to turn the space under the bell tower into a meeting room. The photo gallery below shows some of these spaces in active use in the month following the completion of this phase.
What next for the re-ordering?
In 2018 we hope to be able to see more of our plans come to life. The space underneath the bell tower will hopefully be transformed into a meeting space, but the biggest plan is to sort out the access to the church. This would involve the re-modelling of the North entrance to make it more accessible and to reduce the number of doors and steps to get through. We also hope to be able to improve the driveway from the entrance gate up to the North doors and make it a smooth ramp up to the church. Issues with planning permission have been holding this up for now but with more prayer, fundraising and time we hope for this to become a reality before the end of the year! The final change planned is to improve the audio and visual facilities in the church as time and funds allow; upgrading the sound system and adding in some new technology to enhance our services and events.
FOSA – Friends of St. Andrews
To help with the fundraising a group has been set up to organise fundraising events. Friends of St Andrews, or FOSA as it is known, is working towards a series of events and activities for the church and local communities to be involved in to help raise further funds. See our events pages to find out more about the events coming soon! Or for further information contact Sue Pearson or phone 01823 400093.