Church-goers are looking to a more comfortable future after ‘incredible pledges’ of over £3000,000 flooded in to fund a revamp in just one Sunday.
St John’s church prides itself on being at the heart of its community and reaching out to every corner the community to those in need.
And its impact cannot be underestimated after members of the congregation have pledged £338,000 and counting for important reordering work to be carried out within the building.
The Rev Andrew Attwood, who put estimates for the work at anywhere up from £260,000, explained that the building in Warwick Road needed a reorder to suit the needs of the community.
He explained that the first phase of work would include installing new heating and seats, taking out unused organ pipes and making seating movable to create space for an area to serve hot drinks and food for those in need.
And that he was “overwhelmed” by cash promises which have already flooded in to make it all happen after just one pledge day calling for help.
“The intention is to reorder the church to be more welcoming for all,” he said.
“At the moment I am having to ask people to come in and sit in their coats on a piece of wood. There is no way I would do that to anyone who came to my house. It does not make for a comfortable place to be.
“We had a pledge day last Sunday and the response was just overwhelming. There has been some sacrificial giving here and people have really gone to their limits.
“It just shows what a strong community we have. It is not just about people wanting to improve things for themselves, but also a vision of what we can offer in the future.”
The parish includes around 260 people and the church already offers help to new mums, young families, the elderly, disabled and supports the Foodbank scheme. They also have huge numbers of people joining the congregation each year.
Revd Attwood believes that by improving and making the building more accessible, they can help an even greater number of people in the parish and prevent the church being shut up most weekdays .
Planning work will be approved by the diocese to get going in the New Year to be completed by May.
A second wave of work could then get started.
This will look to open up the church and increase its scope for new families as 700 homes are planned to be built on land at nearby Thickhtorn over the next decade in what Revd Attwood said was a “very exciting time” for the church as it continued to welcome more and more new members.