St Mary's Church, Billingshurst

Transformation Project

Read the Transformation Project Report.

Introduction

The church building has been of immense value to the community for 900 years. There is a church building today only because of the sacrifices that have been made by past generations. It is their sacrifices that have provided the building that is still being used – each week it is giving people of all ages the opportunity to come to know God and to deepen their walk with him.

Over the centuries, the interior has been altered to meet changing appreciations of worship and different ways of engaging with the community the church seeks to serve. The Transformation Project is the next exciting phase in the story of the church.

The Diocese has given its approval (the 'faculty') and works can begin when funds have been raised. The project will require the patience of all church members and the financial support of many individuals, families and organisations.

Vision

The fundamental principles which underlie the changes are crucial. What is the vision for the refurbished building?

1. To enhance worship

We must create a setting that will further inspire devotion and holiness in the 21st century, benefiting from modern technology without jeopardising the past. We are seeking light and beauty, simplicity and space.

2. To increase versatility

When adapted and made more flexible, the church building will be able to cater for growing numbers and will be used more frequently for new and existing activities, as well as for wider outreach and use by the community.

3. To improve facilities

The failing heating system needs to be addressed. Equally, we must comply with the Disability Discrimination Acts. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

The proposal

1. Flooring

A level stone floor will increase versatility and will make the building accessible for the disabled.

2. Heating

New under-floor heating will be effective and efficient.

3. Seating

Modern, attractive seating will mean that the church can be used more flexibly.

4. Crèche

The side chapel will be 'glassed in' to create an area for parents with young children during services. The area will also be used for private prayer, small services and for meetings during the week, whilst the dividers will open when the area is required for seating at larger services.

5. Accessible lavatory

An accessible lavatory, which will include baby changing facilities, will be constructed under the tower.

6. Kitchenette

A kitchenette in the north aisle will allow refreshments to be served after services and at midweek events.

7. Sound equipment

As our prime purpose is communicating the Gospel, we need the modern means to do this effectively. A new system, including an induction loop, will improve sound quality significantly.

8. Projector and screens

The sensitive installation of screens will allow people in all parts of the church to see clearly, allowing greater creativity in worship, and enhancing the feeling of inclusion.

9. Vestry

The fine wood panels around the west door will be moved to provide internal doors to the vestry.

10. Tower

The stairs to the bell ringing chamber will be rebuilt providing additional storage at ground level and on a mezzanine level.

Getting involved

The Transformation Project will safeguard the long term future of the church building by ensuring it is fit for its purposes of worship and mission, both now and far into the future.

If you feel able to give financially, we would warmly invite you to make a one off gift or set up a Standing Order in addition to your regular offering. Perhaps you and your friends/family might like to set your own challenge to fundraise!

It has been agreed that we will tithe the income to the project - that is, we will give away 10 per cent of everything that is received, to various charities at home and abroad. As a result, not only will we have a renewed building ourselves, but we will have been able to help several different projects elsewhere.

For those who would like to give

You can give:

1. Regularly by setting up a Standing Order with your bank
2. By one off donation by bank transfer, cash or cheque (payable to Billingshurst PCC)

St Mary's bank account details:

Account name: Billingshurst Parochial Church Council
Account number: 36509705
Sort code: 09-01-52
IBAN (International Bank Account Number): GB53 ABBY 090152 36509705

Remember to make a note on your Standing Orders, transfers and cheques, so we know your donation is for the reordering project.

If you are a UK taxpayer, we can reclaim tax on your offering - this makes your gift go much further. Please give your name, address and donation amount to the church office, so we can reclaim the tax.