Building the Future, Protecting the Past
A project by Steve Bannister
A new vision for an old building
The UK is covered in church buildings! Every high street boasts many different buildings in many different denominations and quite often, these building are nothing but a burden. Inefficient and built by a previous generation to suit the needs of a forgotten time, they are simply no longer suitable for the needs of a modern church.
The congregation spends far too much of its time and resources being a janitor instead of ministering to their community and the church continues to lose both its voice and its relevance. When we were asked to help restore the church in Chipping Norton, we thought it would be a one-off project, specific to that town. We couldn’t have been more wrong!!
Simply by word-of-mouth, more and more congregations heard of our work and we were approached by many churches across the country. A vision took shape – what if we could help many others in the same difficulty?
In talking with various church authorities, we see that the need for this service is far more extensive than we had originally anticipated and we need the capacity to help many 100s of congregations.
The challenge of dealing with legislation, ancient planning laws, and complicated buildings, together with the scale of the cost is a daunting prospect to any congregation regardless of size. It is most unusual for there to be sufficient volunteer capacity to manage such a project. To put this in context, the first church in the video was originally built 3 years before the Declaration of Independence!
That we can take that workload away and leave the congregation with the challenge only of its missional witness to its community today and tomorrow, is a great privilege.
That we can deliver the churches is not in doubt (please watch the film) and we are able to raise development funding commercially by using the accommodation such that every suitable church can be properly altered and modernised. Our relationships with funders, architects and building contractors mean that we can deliver the projects except for one thing.
It costs approximately £87,000 to get a church from initial conversation to the point where planning permission is given and we can source finance.
Currently, we have twenty Church ready to move forward and this is where we you can help us.
We need to raise £250,000 from this appeal to have sufficient resources to release congregations across the country to realise their hearts’ vision to serve their communities. We are called to be a blessing unto the Nation – not janitors of its history.