By Andrew Gunstone - 23rd June 2006 3:08pm
Regular visitors to AudlemOnline will already have read of plans to upgrade Audlem Methodist Church. These plans have been worked on since 2003. Back then it was realised that the actual chapel part of the premises was the next area for re-decoration. Someone innocently asked, 'Is there any work to be done prior to such re-decoration?' Two and a half years and over £100,000 later, we have a scheme that is now underway and which will take the rest of the summer to complete. What will it do?
Firstly, the scheme will re-design the main entrance so as to provide disabled access. Those who find the front steps difficult will no longer have to use a side-entrance. Secondly, it will open up the porch area by creating one vestibule instead of three and by introducing a number of glass doors and panels to replace the present solid ones. Thirdly, the internal porch will be completely re-built to provide proper access to a gallery above. This gallery will offer extra seating week by week, and a proper technical area for the annual musical.
At the other end of the church, the scheme will simplify and extend the present communion / choir area. The existing pulpit and some of the choir pews will be removed, providing added flexibility and greater safety. (A number of health and safety issues will be addressed within the scheme.) Some of the chapel windows need replacing; all the others will be refurbished and re-glazed. The floor will be stripped and re-sealed. Then, eventually, the chapel will be re-decorated.
How is all this being paid for? Our own members and friends have been the main source of money. We launched an appeal just before Christmas and the response was tremendous. Friends in the village have also helped, with a number of donations being received from across the community. A generous legacy was also significant, as was support from the wider Methodist Church. We are very grateful to all who have supported in any way. Thank you very much indeed. By the end of the project we hope to be debt-free.
For the next three months we'll have to manage without the chapel. On two Sundays we are planning to join with St James for Sunday worship, on other weeks services will be held in the schoolroom. It will all be a bit inconvenient but, hopefully, worth it in the end. Outside, there will be builders' cabins and vehicles on the car park, leaving very little space for anyone else. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused to the village during these alterations.
When all is finished, the chapel will be open for inspection. (With new glass doors at the front you'll be able to look inside as you pass by.) In the meantime if you wish to check on progress visit www.audlemmethodistchurch.org.uk. Follow the alterations link on the home page, or try www.audlemmethodistchurch.org.uk/alterations.
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