Preparation for Feasibility Presentation

Tyldesley Parish Church

Many local people will have seen the rock climbers from North Wales shimmying up and down the spire on the parish Church both in October last year, as they made temporary repairs to the pinnacle and the high stonework; and then only a couple of months ago, as they returned to check that all was still ok!

Many more will have been inside for worship or occasional services of baptism, marriage or funerals, for events – such as brass band concerts (and we have a gin festival planned); for  ‘tea and toast’ at our weekly Friday morning ‘Place of Welcome’; or for a makeshift meal at our ‘Tuesday Teas’. And, you may have joined conversations where we talk about the plans we have for altering the space inside the church building.

New plans for churches are not subject to planning law; instead we have a diocesan chancery court that meets regularly in Manchester and gives us ‘planning permission’, akin to local authority practice.

The advisory committee that deals with these matters before the Chancellor gives permission for any changes looks to see that not only the regular church people have been involved, but that a range of different voices have been taken into account from the wider social and community networks in the town.

New plans are normally led by an architect, in our case a heritage accredited architect, as St George’s is a listed building. We use a firm known as “Buttress” who have already done some recent work in Tyldesley on the HAZ shop windows project.

Our architect is Ed Kepczyk, and he will attend the Tyldesley Traders Market, next Saturday, 6 August between 10.00am and lunchtime, with a small team from ‘Buttress’ to begin a consultation about works that are needed at your parish church.  The views of everyone from our local neighbourhoods will be requested. We will use mail-shots, social media, and a series of review meetings to involve as many local people and their views and opinions as we can.

Yes of course, the clergy and the congregations will have opportunity to give their ‘two-pennorth’, and other churches in our team and mission community will do so as well. But, as William Temple, once Bishop of Manchester before elevation to become Archbishop of Canterbury said, “The Church (of England) exists primarily for the sake of those who are still outside it.”

He is also quoted as preaching that “it is a mistake to think that God is only, or even chiefly, concerned with religion,” which is why, at St George’s we place much emphasis on welcome and hospitality, and trying to ensure that everyone who comes in is comfortable with the space, feels able to use our resources for their own needs, and has positive responses from us concerning any issues they feel able to share.

Our vision is to ensure the building itself is safe and secure AND then to maintain sacred space within the church interior – mainly in the Chancel and Memorial Chapel and transform the rest of the space for multi-purpose usage – this will include worship but will also enable us to plan for a host of differently styled community events.

St George’s is YOUR church. Those of us with a responsibility to maintain and conserve as well as to plan for the future, need your thoughts and concerns, your ideas and anxieties to help us change and renew our 200-year-old church into a fit-for-purpose structure ready to serve the Parish of Tyldesley with Shakerley for another couple of centuries!

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