Major Kenilworth church work almost done after four years

The interior of St John's Church, complete with a new floor and chairs
The interior of St John's Church, complete with a new floor and chairs

Major work to refurbish a Kenilworth church is almost complete four years after the idea was first debated.

St John’s Church in Warwick Road has had a major overhaul of its interior, and has had the old vicar’s vestry extended.

The extension of the church, which use to be the vicar's vestry

The extension of the church, which use to be the vicar's vestry

The inside of church is completely finished and is already being used by the congregation.

It features a new floor, new moveable chairs replacing the old fixed pews, underfloor heating, a new automatic front door and a modern lighting and sound system which can be controlled from a smartphone.

The fixed pipe organ has also been taken out, and replaced with a moveable electronic organ.

The changes will allow the use of the main church building to be more flexible than before, giving it the ability to host different events as well as keeping its traditional function of a church.

Parish administrator Denise Coomber, who has been attending St John’s since 1992, said the project has been ‘massive.’

She added: “It’s a much better space. Before, it was dark, cold, and you sat in the pews staring at the back of someone’s head, but now it’s brighter, warmer and you can see everything.

“We wanted to make it much more community based so everybody can come here and use the space.”

Members of the congregation pledged more than £300,000 towards the build in just four weeks when the project was first announced in 2013.

After consultations with church members and the parish as a whole in 2014, and negotiation with the Church of England authorities, planning permission for the work was eventually granted in August 2015.

The church closed at the end of October 2015, and the building work began in January 2016.

The pews were removed before the church floor was taken apart and the underfloor heating pipes were installed.

The new front door and interior lighting were installed in the summer of 2016

The new floor tiles are three different colours, representing the Holy Trinity.

While the work to the main church building has now finished, a few things need to be finished off in the extension.

Kitchen units and toilets still need to be fitted, but this is expected to be completed soon.

A ‘garden of remembrance’ will feature near the church entrance and outside the extension, where people may scatter their loved ones’ ashes should they choose to. The church does not have a graveyard of its own.

Denise said the changes were necessary because the way people worship has changed drastically, and it was important to keep young people interested in coming to church.

She said: “We do attract quite a few young people but they don’t respond very well to just staring at the front. It needs to be more interactive.

Once everything has been fitted out in the extension of the church, it must be re-dedicated in an official ceremony led by a bishop. This confirms the church as a place of worship in the eyes of God.

The ceremony was set to take place in March, but the bishop was unavailable.