Church Buildings Fit for God’s Mission in the 21st Century……
Of course, it’s a truism that the ‘church’ is not a building, but indeed the People of God (or, to use a different metaphor, the Body of Christ) who, through baptism, have been adopted by God to be full members of his family of love and care, worship and prayer, bringing the light and love of Jesus to all in our daily lives and world. In this sense, the Church is not itself a building, but typically does choose to meet in a building, one which is specially designed to help the whole People of God to meet together regularly with our Maker and Redeemer in order to be refreshed by God’s gracious love and forgiveness, to be reminded of his will for our lives and his call upon our lives, and to be sent once more to share the love of Jesus with the community we serve.
Over the past several years, two of the church communities in our benefice – St. Stephen’s (serving Fradley village) and All Saints ( serving Alrewas village) – have been investing a huge amount of love, time, energy and finance in order to help our inherited historic church buildings to be much more ‘fit for purpose’ for God’s mission in the 21st century! (The situation for the very rural church of St. Leonard’s, serving the small hamlet of Wychnor, is quite different from the other two churches, but the small yet hugely committed congregation continues to maintain the 12th century building so that it can serve as a focus for the local community).
St. Stephen’s Fradley
Built in 1861 within the Parish of Alrewas by residents of Fradley so that funerals could take place locally instead of journeying to the Parish Church, St. Stephen’s Church building has been radically transformed over the past 15 years. Initially removing 8 pews (experimentally at the time!) and introducing an internal ramp for push chairs and wheelchair, this area was carpeted and 20 padded chairs were introduced for greater flexibility.
Around 9 years ago, a new meeting room and toilet facilities were added, followed by the complete refurbishment of the original Victorian building, including new wiring, lighting, heating, damp proofing and external ramp for disabled users. Around five years ago, the Architect informed us that the church roof was in need of replacing, and over the last several years the congregation and community have joined together, working extremely hard to raise the necessary funds to completely renew the entire church roof, which is vitally important to protect the many alterations and improvements made for the sake of God’s mission over the past fifteen years (see the separate article on the Roof Restoration Celebratory Service within the magazine, for further information).
<img class="wp-image-713 alignleft" src="http://alrewasallsaints More hints.church/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/allsaintsalrewas.jpg” alt=”allsaintsalrewas” width=”342″ height=”220″ />
All Saints Alrewas
The most recent alteration to the medieval Grade I Church of All Saints was the addition of the north transept and Lady Chapel in 1891….until now! After many years of planning and fundraising, All Saints is just now completing a significant re-ordering which includes the removal of various pews on the south and west side (being replaced by memory foam wooden chairs), the relocation of the ancient font so it is closer to the door and to the front of the building, six quality circular wooden tables, beautiful oak wood cabinets housing a new kitchenette as well as much needed storage and display, and beautiful red carpet to offer a warm welcome to all! It is hoped that these alterations will provide much greater flexibility for our expanding programme of ministry and mission in service to the community of Alrewas.
On Sunday 10th July at 6:00 pm at All Saints Church, a special ‘Songs of Praise’ Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration will be held, at which the Archdeacon of Lichfield, The Venerable Simon Baker, will be our featured speaker. The Parochial Church Council of All Saints very warmly wishes to invite everyone in the village to come and share in this special service (refreshments will be served), and experience the changes which have been made in the hope that the building of All Saints, like St. Stephen’s, will be much more ‘fit for God’s mission purposes’ for the 21st century!
Your Vicar and friend, John Allan