St Mary's Church, Billingshurst

St Mary's Magdalene Woodstock & St Mary's Willesborough

Transformation Project

Introduction

Welcome to our project!

St Mary's Church has stood at the centre of Billingshurst for over 900 years. More than just a local landmark, it has stood as a symbol of faith and hope at the centre of our community. It has survived wars and strife, and it is the site of some of our most precious ceremonies - weddings, funerals, baptisms and remembrance. It continues to be a place of worship and prayer to the present day.

Down through the centuries, St. Mary's has grown and evolved into the building we see today. Following that tradition, changes are afoot again. After 10 years of planning, our Transformation Project is about to move into action. Our plan is to transform the inside of our church building, opening it up as an accessible resource for everyone in our community. We want St. Mary's to be a building that all in Billingshurst will find a welcome in; a church that continues in the age old tradition of being a centre for community life: a place for fellowship and festivals as well as being somewhere for prayer and contemplation.

So what is going to be done? Well, we want to make sure that the church building is made comfortable, warm, completely accessible and an open, welcoming environment.  We are planning to open up the whole of the interior of the church, putting in great new lighting, a new sound system, toilet and baby facilities and even a kitchenette. This will create a wonderful new open space within the existing beautiful stone arches for everyone to use. We can be a venue for food festivals, art exhibitions, cafes and exercise classes. For children we can have mother and toddler groups, youth clubs, half-term camps and all kinds of meetings. The facilities will be good enough for chamber music and concerts plus all manner of music ensembles, jazz groups, song, dance and drama activities. For business it can be a great venue for local "Expo's" meetings and training days. It could be a place to learn about our local history with videos or film shows on the way Billingshurst used to be. It can also be used to serve the community better with welfare support days, counselling and financial support days. Any number of clubs and societies can use this wonderfully newly transformed venue for meetings, talks and exhibitions.

Our aim through the Transformation Project is to ensure that our beautiful building of St. Mary's is ready for the needs and challenges of the 21st Century and beyond. Set up on its hill in the centre of Billingshurst, it is here for the whole community. It comes as a gift from those who lived here before us and we want to ensure that we pass it on, fit for purpose, as a precious legacy to those who follow after us. We want this amazing resource to be used and enjoyed!

Any enquiries or comments please email transformation@stmarysbillingshurst.org.

Vision

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

1. To increase versatility

When adapted and made more flexible, this historic church building will be able to be a beautiful facility for the growing numbers in our community and used in a very much wider and more inclusive way.

2. To improve facilities

Key areas on improvement are disability friendly access, toilets, new heating, lighting and AV systems, kitchenette, flexible furniture arrangements and sound-proof area. Also, a secure vestry that will allow for the church to be open for longer hours.

Help us!

Whoever you are you can help us get this project complete. Here are a number of ways:

1.    Expression of Support. Send us an email of support. We’d love to hear from you!  The more we hear from our community the easier it is to raise funds. If you are an organisation of any type and would possibly like to use the church after the project is complete then we would particularly like to hear from you also. Why not fill in our contact details form and we’ll be in touch. Alternatively write us a letter on interest, for example. Any queries of questions please email transformation@stmarysbillingshurst.org.

2.   Skills. If you have a skill you think could be useful for the project and you’d like to share with us then please let us know. All help appreciated!! Examples are: fund raising, minute taking, accounting, publicity, professional background in heating, lighting and AV, art and design, web work.

3.   Joining in. We will be having lots of fundraising events. Everything from food and music events to sponsored walks, cycles rides and shows. If you would be interested in giving a hand every now and then in anything we’re doing we’d love to hear from you.

4.   Financial donation. If you feel able to give financially, we would warmly invite you to make a one off gift or set up a Standing Order.

St Mary's bank account details:

Account name: Billingshurst Parochial Church Council
Account number: 36509705
Sort code: 09-01-52

Please let us know of your donation to office@stmarysbillingshurst.org.

If you are a UK tax payer we can an additional 25% on your donation.  To enable us to do so, please contact us by email to office@stmarysbillingshurst.org or drop a note to the Church Office with your name and address so that we can send you a Gift Aid form to complete.

5.   Prayer. At St Mary’s Church we have a dedicated prayer group for our project, asking for wisdom and blessing over this project. If you’d like to be part of this group please get in touch. In any event though, if you do pray we would much appreciate you praying for the project. Bless you.

We are very excited about the project! Thank you for any help and encouragement of any kind that you can give.

Tim Foulsham

Transformation Committee Chair

transformation@stmarysbillingshurst.org.