The Church of England Parish of

Kirdford with

Plaistow & Ifold

St John the Baptist,

Kirdford

Holy Trinity,

Plaistow

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KIRDFORD CHURCH  FACILITIES AND JUBILEE DOORS - UPDATE MAY 2014

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, on our Patronal festival day, we will welcome Bishop Mark, the Bishop of Horsham, to our 10.00 am service in Kirdford church when he will bless and dedicate the new facilities and the Jubilee Doors. 

It is hoped that everybody will come to this service, whether regular churchgoers or not.  Residents were very generous in making donations towards the cost of the doors, and in supporting fund raising events. 

Refreshments will be served after the service and this will be your opportunity to see the kitchen facilities in action if you have not already done so.

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JUBILEE DOORS - UPDATE FEBRUARY 2014

Many of you will by now have seen that the beautiful “Jubilee Doors” have at last been installed in Kirdford church. 

They were fitted just in time for the Christmas celebrations.  Both the Crib Service and Midnight Mass went ahead despite there being no heat or lighting in the church due to the electricity outage.  The church was lit by lots of candles and both services were quite well attended. The atmosphere in the candlelight was beautiful and we may well light the church this way again next year.

There will be a dedication service for the doors in the coming months.

Editor’s note: The photo below (left) shows these glass doors, which are located just inside the main wooden doors of the church. They are engraved with an apple tree motif to reflect the apple-growing heritage of the village. There is also an inscription beneath the Royal Coat of Arms which reads: “These doors were the gift of the people of this Parish in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2012”. For more details about the engraving, see previous articles.

There is also a second set of glass doors at the entrance to the nave, one of which is inscribed with the first verse of a carol, as shown in the photo below (right). For information about this carol, see previous articles.

































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JUBILEE DOORS - UPDATE DECEMBER 2013

The Jubilee Doors for Kirdford Church are still not in place, but this is due to be rectified over the next few weeks and early next year a dedication service will be arranged.

The latest problem? One set of doors was made much earlier this year, but we were waiting for the loo and kitchen installations to be finished before they were hung.  The door frames were put in place but when the doors were taken out of storage, there were question marks over the quality of one of them, so that is being remade and engraved.  

We are delighted with the loo and the “kitchen-in-a-box” and are really looking forward to completing the project with the installation of the Jubilee Doors.   

Kate Fenney (Churchwarden)

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KIRDFORD CHURCH FACILITIES - UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2013

Since work began in May, we have seen slow but steady progress - the outside earthworks and drainage are complete and the kitchen and loo are installed and in use.

The oak frame for the outer set of Jubilee Doors is in place and the frame for the second door is under construction. Engraving on one door is complete and as soon as the second frame is in situ the glass for the second door can be cut and made ready for installation.

When all the work is finished we will be holding a service to dedicate the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Doors to which everyone will be invited. We’ll keep you posted.

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JUBILEE DOORS AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS TO KIRDFORD CHURCH - UPDATE MAY 2013

It has been some time since we provided an update about the improvements to Kirdford Church and some parishioners are wondering what is happening - especially regarding the “Jubilee Doors” for which Kirdford Parish Council (the civil one) launched an appeal last year.

We apologise for not updating you earlier.  Progress has been slow and laborious and we are very much in the hands of others - planners & building regulation enforcers, architects, door designers & engravers, and builders. 

As many people will know, the “Jubilee Doors” are part of a bigger project to install a single loo (suitable for use by the disabled) and a “kitchen in a box”. When complete these facilities will, we hope, make the church a more “user-friendly” place and open it up to greater use.

The offer from the Parish Council to raise £15,000  for the actual cost of the doors was greeted most gratefully by the Parochial Church Council and we are delighted to report that their target was achieved and even slightly exceeded with the help of the appeal, the picnic in the park and the Village Diamond Jubilee celebrations. We know that the Parish Council wrote thanking all contributors, and now the Parochial Church Council would like to add their sincere thanks.

Fundraising by the Church has continued apace.  Last June we held a Gift day/Open day at Kirdford church with history talks / trips up the tower / stalls (cakes, plants, books), and with morning coffee and afternoon teas being served. In the evening there was a concert of music, poetry and prose. This raised approximately another £15,000.

We have staged two further concerts, the first performed by “The Adderbury Ensemble” (a superb string quartet) and the second being a programme of Christmas music delivered by The Slinfold Concert Band. (Another “Adderbury” concert takes place this month - 10th May - see the news item to the left.)  We have discovered that the acoustics in the church really lend themselves to these events.

We also had a supper and talk by Tony Sanders  in the village hall. All these events have raised additional money which has been added to the Improvement Fund. A really big “thank you” to everyone who has supported this venture either by direct donation or by buying tickets for events (or both!).

At the time of writing, we are really hoping that work will begin around 20th May, though we are still awaiting confirmation from the contractors.

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FUND FOR FACILITIES IN KIRDFORD CHURCH - UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012

At the time of writing we have reached just over the half-way mark in our fundraising for new facilities in Kirdford church, with the fund now standing at just over £40,000.

In round terms, recent fundraising is as follows: £5,000 was raised at the gift day held in June, we have received a grant of £7,500, the Picnic in The Park raised in excess of £2,500, the Gurkha talk £1,000, a gift of £10,000 has been received and Kirdford Parish Council has almost reached it’s target of raising £15,000 towards the Jubilee Doors by public subscription. Donations have also been received from both the choir and the bell ringers funds.

Fundraising will continue along with applications for grants and your support for forthcoming events will be greatly appreciated. The next one is the Christmas Concert on Saturday 8th December.

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THE ENGRAVING FOR THE NEW GLASS DOORS -  “LETTER FROM THE VICARAGE” JUNE 2012

Dear Friends,     

By now many of you will be aware of the appeal to raise funds for the refurbishment of the entrance to Kirdford Church. The Parish Council [of the civil parish of Kirdford] are leading the way with their appeal for the 'Jubilee Doors' - a set of engraved glass doors marking the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Further appeals will be made later in the month (especially at our Gift Day on Saturday 23rd June 2012) to raise the funds to install a set of glass inner doors, as well as toilet and kitchen facilities.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain the design for the engraving on the doors themselves. This has been the result of a lot of hard work, thought, and ...inspiration! The requirement to engrave glass doors like ours is a legal requirement, for safety reasons - basically so that people don't accidentally walk into them. But we decided very early on that simply complying with the regulations - and using a simple cross motif, for example - wasn't what was needed. So, one summer morning last year we met with our architect and the renowned artist-engraver, Mel Howse, to think things through on site.

As we stood and chatted in the sunshine, outside the church porch doorway, we listed the requirements. We wanted the doors to be inviting, welcoming, and beautiful and striking in themselves - whilst also leading the visitor into the church building at the same time. We wanted the doors to point 'beyond' themselves in some way. We also wanted the design to reflect the local area, as well as the immediate location -surrounded by a beautiful and tranquil churchyard, with its natural environment. At the same time we wanted the doors to represent the Christian faith in a meaningful way - without making visitors of other faiths or none feel excluded or put off. We wanted the design to be original and of artistic merit - but timeless and memorable - preferably leaving the visitor with a message to take away with them. An incredibly tall order really.

But we believe we have been given what we ordered! The designs that finally came back from Mel exceeded all our expectations. The idea of an 'apple' design had been mooted, in recognition of Kirdford's long association with the apple industry. Mel combined that with a 'tree of life' theme, blending - with the churchyard environment - to produce a stunning apple tree motif. The 'tree' itself has a sturdy, massive, 'trunk' - which has two 'arms', and a wounded 'head' bowing down. At least it does for those who wish to see it that way. Others will want to simply see a beautifully stylised image of an apple tree - with Her Majesty's crest and an inscription explaining how these doors were a gift from the people of the Parish.

The verse chosen for the inner doors came by chance one day, helping a couple prepare their wedding service. The words are the first verse of an anonymous Christmas carol, 'Jesus Christ the Apple Tree', found in a Victorian book of carols from New England, an area of North America also known for apple growing. The tune is heartbreakingly beautiful, but the words themselves leapt out as the ideal inscription for our new church doors:

        The tree of life my soul hath seen,

        Laden with fruit and always green:

        The trees of nature fruitless be

        Compared with Christ the apple tree.

This first verse of the carol starts by simply contrasting the beauties and wonder of nature, which are impressive but limited, with the limitless beauty and wonder of Christ, the 'apple tree'. As the visitor leaves the churchyard, full of the glories of God's natural world, he or she is invited to enter, and encounter the unsurpassable beauty of the glory of God in its fullness - Jesus Christ Himself. Overall, in five verses, the words of the carol speak of the humility and joy that comes from surrender to Christ. It is a hymn of profound longing, a longing that, at long last, finds fulfilment only in discovering Jesus Christ to be the Son of God.

That image of Jesus as an 'apple tree' might seem strange at first sight, but it has a long history. From the very beginning of the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, to the end, in the final Chapter of Revelation, the 'tree of life' is presented as the God-given means of nourishment, wisdom and healing. Then, more specifically in the Song of Songs, a love poem between God and His chosen, the 'woman' speaks of her 'Lover' as an apple tree among the trees of the forest (2:3), and the Lover in the Song has long been recognised by Christians as a metaphor for Jesus Christ.

And so the words on the door leading into the nave of the church will remind us that it's here - in God's own house - that the fullest expression of His Glory makes itself known. To enter this building as a Christian, or as a doubter, a one-time believer, or even a confirmed sceptic, is to make a journey of ‘restless' movement towards that peace that St Augustine spoke of when he wrote those. immortal words: “Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they find their rest in thee.” And on that profound note, we'll leave the other four verses for another time.

Every blessing to you,    

Revd Paul Redparth  

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NEW FACILITIES FOR KIRDFORD CHURCH GET THE GO-AHEAD - UPDATE AUGUST 2011

The PCC (Parochial Church Council, the local governing body of the Church) is delighted to announce that the Church authorities in the Diocese of Chichester have now formally given the go-ahead for our plans to provide new facilities for Kirdford church!

As regular readers of the Parish News and our website may recall, these plans are to provide a disabled-access WC compartment in the lobby area under the tower of Kirdford church (on the right as you enter), together with a small sink/worktop/cupboard unit at the west end of the north aisle for the preparation of coffee etc (close to where the current coffee table is located). In addition, the lobby itself will be enclosed by two sets of etched glass doors to form an attractive, welcoming and draught-free entrance area that can also be used by the Sunday Club on a temporary basis until the PCC’s longer term plans for a permanent Sunday Club space can be implemented.

This project forms Phase 1 of the PCC’s overall plans for improved facilities to both our church buildings (at Kirdford and Plaistow), to make them more user-friendly and better serve the community, so as to further God’s purposes for our parish. More information on all of the proposed improvements can be found in the full set of Parish News articles to date, which are available below.

It’s taken much longer than we expected to get to this point, but we’re now in a position to do a detailed costing of the project and, of course, continue to raise the necessary funds so that we can start the work as soon as possible. The PCC would therefore be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to sponsor any aspect of the work, however small. If you feel able to help in this way please contact the Vicar (for contact details click “contact” above) or the churchwarden, Kate Fenney (contact details in the Parish News). Obvious aspects of the work that could be separately sponsored are the sink/worktop/cupboard unit, any of the four etched glass doors, and the WC compartment, but there will also be smaller items that can be costed separately, such as the traditional oak door of the WC compartment, the etching of the glass doors, various fixtures & fittings, etc.

We’ll continue to keep the community informed about the project and the fundraising as it proceeds, via articles in the Parish News and on this website. Meanwhile let us surround the whole project with our prayers.

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)

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A NEW VISION FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY - UPDATE JANUARY 2011  

The PCC (Parochial Church Council, the local governing body of the Church) are please to announce that their detailed plans for improved facilities at Kirdford church have been favourably assessed by the DAC (the Diocesan Advisory Committee, which decides on church planning applications) at their December meeting. The DAC’s formal approval is still subject to a number of clarifications, so we hope and pray that these will be straightforward and not give rise to any major changes or further delays – we will keep readers informed as the project develops.

As regular readers of the Parish News may recall, these plans are to provide a disabled-access toilet in the lobby area under the tower of Kirdford church (on the right as you enter), together with a small sink/worktop/cupboard unit at the west end of the north aisle for the preparation of coffee etc (close to where the current coffee table is located). In addition, the lobby itself will be enclosed by etched glass doors to form an attractive, welcoming and draught-free entrance area that can also be used by the Sunday Club on a temporary basis until the PCC’s plans longer term plans for a permanent Sunday Club space can be implemented.

This project forms Phase 1 of the PCC’s overall plans for improved facilities to both our church buildings (at Kirdford and Plaistow), to make them more user friendly and better serve the community, so as to further God’s purposes for our parish. Phase 2 will involve the provision of a toilet and kitchen for Plaistow church, as well as re-ordering its interior so that it can take on the function of Church rooms (for study groups, workshops etc) as well as being used for services.

Phase 3 will involve improving the chancel of Kirdford church and screening its current vestry area to create a multi-purpose Lady Chapel / vestry / Sunday club space. More information on all of the proposed improvements can be found in the full set of Parish News articles to date, which are available on our website.

Fundraising for the Phase 1 project will of course now be a high priority so that we can start the work as soon as possible, and the PCC would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to sponsor any aspect of the work, however small – please contact the churchwarden, Kate Fenney in the first instance. Meanwhile let us surround the whole project with our prayers.

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)

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A NEW VISION FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY - UPDATE FEBRUARY 2010

As reported previously in the Parish News, our Parochial Church Council (PCC, the local governing body of the Church) is currently developing a new vision for our Church family that includes improving the facilities of both our church buildings at Kirdford and Plaistow, so as to maximise and diversify their use for all our Church-related activities, and make them more ‘user-friendly’, especially for families and children. More information on the proposed improvements can be found in the full set of Parish News articles to date, which are available on our website.   Over the past few months the PCC has been working on an outline plan for the facilities and has decided that the work naturally falls into three phases:

Phase 1 will involve the provision, for Kirdford church, of a toilet, a small kitchen area, and an improved lobby area under the tower which will also provide temporary Sunday Club space. Phase 2 will involve the provision of a toilet and kitchen for Plaistow church as well as re-ordering its interior so that it can take on the function of Church rooms (for study groups, workshops etc) as well as being used for services. Phase 3 will involve improving the chancel of Kirdford church and screening its current vestry area to create a multi-purpose Lady Chapel / vestry / Sunday club space.

The exciting news is that Phase 1 for Kirdford church is already underway! The external wooden doors are currently being refurbished, using funds from the Friends of the churches. Furthermore, after careful consideration of all the options, the PCC and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC - the Church of England’s local planning authority) have now agreed that the best location for a toilet is within the large lobby area underneath the tower (on the right as you enter the church), rather than having an obtrusive box-like structure within the main body of the church, or a separate external building. The lobby itself will also be enclosed with attractive glass doors to provide draught-proofing as well much-needed temporary Sunday Club space. In addition, a small screened sink and worktop will be included at the west end of the north aisle for coffee making etc.   Though the PCC doesn’t yet have formal planning permission for these Phase 1 improvements, we are very hopeful that detailed plans along these lines will be formally approved by the DAC within the next couple of months – so please keep the project in your prayers, and keep watching this space! Meanwhile we are beginning to think about fundraising, so if there is anyone who would like to sponsor any aspect of these improvements and so help to further God’s plans and purposes for our parish, the PCC would be delighted to hear from you - please contact the Vicar in the first instance.

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)

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A NEW VISION FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY - UPDATE AUGUST 2009  

As reported in a series of articles over the last year in the Parish News, our Parochial Church Council (PCC, the local governing body of the Church) is currently developing a new vision for our Church family that includes improving the facilities of both our church buildings at Kirdford and Plaistow, so as to maximise and diversify their use for all our Church-related activities, and make them more ‘user-friendly’, especially for families and children. More information on the proposed improvements can be found in the full set of Parish News articles to date, which are available on our website.  

The first stage of these improvements is to make the lobby area under the tower in Kirdford church into an attractive, welcoming and draught-free entrance area that can also be used as a space for the Sunday club children to use during services, at least until a more permanent room can be provided. In outline, this involves refurbishment of the church doors so as to make them draught-free, the installation of large internal glass doors at the other end of the lobby (where curtains are currently situated), a new floor covering, boxing in of unsightly pipes, and the provision of new cupboards and a display stand. The PCC has now agreed to submit a proposal along these lines to the Church of England’s planning procedures in the near future.  

Meanwhile the PCC is continuing to seek God’s will for implementing the rest of our vision for the new facilities in both church buildings so as to best fulfil the mission of the Church to our community. As the proposals become firmer the PCC will of course continue to keep the congregation and the wider community informed of developments – so keep watching this space!

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)

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A NEW VISION FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY - UPDATE JANUARY 2009  

As reported in a series of articles over the last 6 months in the Parish News, our Parochial Church Council (PCC) is currently developing a new vision for our Church family that includes improving the facilities of both our church buildings at Kirdford and Plaistow, so as to maximise and diversify their use and make them more ‘user-friendly’ for all our Church-related activities. An important milestone was reached on 1st December when our initial ideas for these improvements were outlined informally to members of the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), which is the local planning authority for the Church of England.

They showed great interest in all our ideas, and discussed in detail the first stage of the work – the improvement and draught-proofing of the area under the tower of Kirdford church by enclosing it with large glass doors, so as to make it an attractive and welcoming lobby area as well as a temporary venue for the Sunday Club. They also advised us on the best way to develop all our ideas into more concrete proposals in consultation with our church architect, prior to submitting them for formal approval by the DAC.  

As the proposals become firmer the PCC will of course continue to keep the congregation and the wider community informed of developments – so keep watching this space! The PCC will also be starting to think about funding the work; as well as general fundraising there will be many opportunities for people to sponsor particular items within the overall plan, as a way of helping God’s work in our parish now and in the future. Meanwhile the whole series of Parish News articles about the proposed new vision are now available on our website.  

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)

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MOVING ON! THE NEW VISION, THE SEPTEMBER CONSULTATION AND THE WAY FORWARD! (UPDATE DECEMBER 2008)  

I am very happy to communicate to all, especially to those who participated in the September Consultation "A New Vision for our Church Family - The Way Forward", the response of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) that met on October 16th this year.   First of all, let me sincerely thank you all for your very kind responses to the consultation form, which was sent to all members of the Church Electoral Roll, with extra copies in the churches. We do appreciate and value every one of your proposals and suggestions. We have also taken to heart some of your concerns.   This new vision adopted by the PCC comprises a new pattern of services and a plan to realise new facilities in both churches. The plan is to maximise the use of both churches while diversifying their uses so as to make them relevant and user-friendly for today especially to our young families and young people.  

There was good support for this vision for the Church. However, the PCC wished to respect and respond to the concerns raised with regard to the venue of the main Sunday services at 10.00 am. So it was decided that from January 2009 "there should be one 10-00 am service held in Plaistow each month" and that it "should be held on the first Sunday of each month with the 8-00 am service to be held in Kirdford on that Sunday. The meeting re-affirmed its approval of the vision for the improvement of facilities at both churches as support for the mission of the parish." (PCC Minutes, October 16, 2008).  

It was clear to the PCC that implementing the vision was necessarily a process that would take time and that the pattern of services will continue to develop alongside the development of the facilities in both churches.   We all know that in a rural parish as large as ours (area-wise, the largest in West Sussex) with a rich tapestry of traditions, gifts and experiences, it is not easy to satisfy the needs of every individual. However, we know that the Church reflects the Kingdom of God and it is, and ought to be, a family where each one can feel at home and accepted with his/her uniqueness!   May I tell you how happy I am to be a spiritual guide of this lovely parish and how I see a great future as we strive to realise our vision seeking the Lord and His Kingdom as a united fellowship in Christ.

Thank you everyone and may God bless us all!  

Revd Sebastian Mattapally 

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IMPROVING THE FACILITIES OF OUR CHURCH BUILDINGS - UPDATE NOVEMBER 2008  

As reported in the June, August and September editions of the Parish News, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is currently seeking to improve the facilities of our church buildings at Kirdford and Plaistow, adding modern essentials such as toilets, kitchen and office space, and providing space for our other activities in addition to services (e.g. Sunday Club, study groups, etc).

The most promising idea, which is still under discussion but has been implemented very successfully in other churches, is to construct a set of sound-proof rooms within each church, with galleries above for extra seating. We are also considering the possibility of replacing the poor quality pews in Plaistow church with chairs designed for church use, so as to allow the flexible and frequent use of the main part of Plaistow church not only for services but also for bible study groups, prayer groups, church meetings, Alpha/Spire/Following Jesus courses and other activities focused on mission, evangelism, outreach and fresh expressions of Church. Giving Plaistow church this vital additional role will not only make it the hub and heart of the parish but will also ensure that it remains viable into the future, since it is very clear that in the longer term we can’t justify retaining two buildings within our parish for essentially the same purpose. All of these alterations would, of course, be done sensitively so as to retain the historical character of the buildings.  

The PCC’s Facilities Subcommittee met again on 14th August to look in more detail at possibilities and priorities, and it was clear that our most urgent need is actually for space within Kirdford church for our growing Sunday Club for children. A creative way to achieve this in the short term is by enclosing the entrance area of the church, underneath the tower, with large glass doors, as has been done in many other churches. Not only would this provide an attractive and welcoming lobby area for the church and help to reduce heat loss, but once the Sunday service is underway it would also be a suitable venue for the Sunday Club, at least until a sound-proof room can be constructed elsewhere in the church. Therefore the PCC has decided to initiate discussions with our church architect about a suitable design for this lobby area that can be submitted to the Church of England’s planning procedures.  

The PCC is also continuing to consider the best way to achieve the other improvements so as to fulfil God’s purposes for our parish in the future, and as ideas become clearer we will keep the community informed of developments through articles in the Parish News and on our website. Meanwhile you might like to see how another fairly local church (at Slaugham, south of Crawley) has implemented improvements with aspects similar to those we are considering – see www.stmarysparish.org.uk.  

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)  

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IMPROVING THE FACILITIES OF OUR CHURCH BUILDINGS – AND PRESERVING THEM AS CHURCHES INTO THE FUTURE (UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2008)

  As reported in the June and August editions of the Parish News, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is currently looking at how to improve the facilities in both our church buildings for our services and our other activities such as Sunday Club, study groups, workshops, etc. The proposed changes probably represent the most significant alterations to our church buildings since the 19th Century. So it is worth stepping back and looking at the context of the changes from a somewhat wider perspective – and we will see that one of the consequences of the changes is hopefully the preservation of both of our church buildings as churches into the future!  

First, it’s important to realise that our ecclesiastical parish is unusual in that it is geographically quite large, covering the two civil (local government) parishes of Kirdford, and Plaistow & Ifold. It is also very unusual in having two church buildings. The medieval parish church at Kirdford, dating from around AD1100, was supplemented in the late 17th Century by a “Chapel of Ease” at Plaistow, in order to make it easier for parishioners in the northern part of the parish to attend church services, at a time when travel was slow and difficult. This Chapel of Ease was later rebuilt as the Victorian church building we know today.  

Both buildings have continued to be used for services, and in recent years a pattern of worship developed with services alternating between each church building every two weeks. Even with modern transport, however, there was still a strong tendency for some people to worship in one or other church only. This all changed when the recent closure of Kirdford church for its roof repairs forced us all to worship together in the same church building every week. This led to larger congregations and a strong sense of unity and vitality, and so it was decided to continue to experiment with this pattern, holding all the main 10am services at Kirdford, and the early morning, evening and mid-week services (as well as various informal services) at Plaistow.  

Despite this, the congregation is still relatively small, and these days, having two churches in a single parish is undoubtedly seen as a luxury – for example, when two parishes are amalgamated one of the churches is often closed. So if Plaistow church were to continue to be used just as an alternative venue for services to the main parish church at Kirdford, it is the PCC’s understanding that at some point in the future the Church of England authorities would be likely to consider Plaistow church redundant.  

Whilst it is important to stress that there is no immediate threat to Plaistow church, any possibility of church closure is obviously a gloomy prospect for the parish. But this is where the church alterations come in! We now have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate that we can maximise the use of both buildings, making the closure of any an impossibility. We currently have an increasing need for church facilities such as an office, kitchen and space for large workshops and study groups such as Alpha Courses. So by re-ordering the interior of Plaistow church we will be able to use it not only for church services but also for our other activities, fulfilling the role which is normally taken by a separate (and expensive) set of Church Rooms. This should, therefore, ensure the future of Plaistow church, not only as a venue for services but also as a well-used, vibrant spiritual hub for the parish, conveniently located at its centre.  

As discussed in the previous articles, this re-ordering of Plaistow church can readily be achieved by constructing a set of sound-proofed rooms (for toilet, office & kitchen) at the western end (with a gallery above for extra seating), together with the replacement of its poor quality pews by chairs designed for church use, so that the main part of the church can then be used for study groups, meetings, etc, as well as services. Meanwhile Kirdford church would also be re-ordered to provide modern facilities such as toilets and Sunday Club space, by constructing sound-proofed rooms in the northwest area (again with a gallery above). All this would, of course, be done in a sensitive manner so as to preserve the character of both church buildings.  

This whole suite of changes represents a dynamic new vision for our parish that the PCC believes God is calling us to implement so that we can better carry on His work in our community as we move into the 21st century. By embracing these changes, we should all be able to ensure our future as a growing and healthy Church family. In the next month or two we should be able to report some more details of the proposed changes – so keep watching this space!  

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)

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IMPROVING THE FACILITIES OF OUR CHURCH BUILDINGS - UPDATE AUGUST 2008  

As we reported in the June Parish News, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is currently looking at how to improve the facilities in both church buildings for our services and our other activities such as Sunday Club, study groups, workshops, etc. The PCC’s Facilities Committee met again on 25th June to look at how we might incorporate toilets, kitchen facilities, meeting space and an office area within our two church buildings. The idea that seems most promising is to create sets of sound-proofed rooms in the northwest part of Kirdford church and at the western end of Plaistow church, with galleries above for extra seating. This is not as radical as it may sound – many churches, both medieval and Victorian, have already incorporated very similar schemes in a sensitive way, in keeping with the historic character of the churches. In fact Kirdford church originally had a raised gallery in approximately the same location!            

We are also increasingly needing larger accommodation space for events such as workshops and large study courses & meetings, so the committee is also looking at the possibility of replacing the fixed pews in Plaistow church, which are in poor condition, with high quality moveable chairs designed specially for church use. This would allow a more flexible and frequent use of the main part of the church, not only for church services but also for these other events. Again this may sound rather radical, but with the right choice of seating this can again be done sensitively so as to retain the character of the Victorian church, as many other churches have demonstrated.            

Our overriding aim in all of this is to maximise the use of the space available within our church buildings whilst retaining their overall character. This will give us the facilities that we need for our services and for our other activities that reach out more into the community, so as to carry out God’s purposes for our Parish into the future. The next stage is to work up these general ideas into something more specific which, after approval by the PCC, can then be designed in detail by our church architect and put forward to the Church of England’s planning procedures. And then the fundraising needs to begin! All of this will clearly take some time, and we aim to keep our congregation and the wider community fully informed of developments as they happen. Keep watching this space!  

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC) 

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IMPROVING THE FACILITIES OF OUR CHURCH BUILDINGS - UPDATE JUNE 2008

Now that the repairs to Kirdford church are nearing completion and both of our church buildings at Kirdford and Plaistow are in use again, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is turning its attention to how to improve the facilities in both church buildings for our services and our other activities such as the Sunday Club, study groups, etc.            

One immediate enhancement that has been given the go-ahead by the PCC and should help our services enormously is a sound system (including hearing loop) for Kirdford church, similar to the one in Plaistow church. As for other improvements, the PCC’s Facilities Subcommittee had its first meeting on 22nd April to have an initial discussion about what was required. As we all know, both church buildings urgently need toilet facilities, and it was agreed that these should be given the highest priority. Beyond these, other improvements in both buildings such as kitchen facilities and space for meetings would be phased in as the money became available.            

Precise details of the new facilities have yet to be worked out, but to keep costs to a reasonable level it is anticipated that we will be able to make use of space within each of the church buildings rather than trying to fund any new external buildings. Even though this may seem an unusual approach for our medieval and Victorian church buildings, there are in fact many such sensitively designed schemes that are being implemented across the country, and are having a dramatic effect on how well parish churches can be used for doing God’s work, both through worship and through other activities such as Sunday clubs, groups, meetings etc.            

Any such improvements would of course have to go through the Church of England’s strict planning controls before they could be agreed. However, the PCC is confident that its church architect will be able to come up with schemes for both church buildings that will enhance their use and make them attractive and welcoming centres of worship and of the spiritual life of our community, for the furtherance of God’s purposes in our Parish. Watch this space!  

Ian Mason (chairman, Facilities Subcommittee of the PCC)  

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MOVING ON! - A WORD ON THE PATTERN OF SERVICES (MAY 2008)  

The weekly united services at Plaistow have shown a gradual increase in numbers. The experience of worshipping together in one church has been a great boon and everyone unanimously agrees that it has been really a positive experience. We would not like to lose this sense of unity as a parish and would like to move on in this direction once the Kirdford church reopens in May, building upon this positive experience as a united Church Family Fellowship and Body of Christ and continue worshipping together in one church for the main 10.00am service. An added feature will be the new mid-week service followed by refreshments at Plaistow every Thursday at 9.15am.

The new schedule of services which is planned from May on will be an experiment. Nothing is set in stone and we only want to move on building a communion of hearts within a united parish. Let us not forget that the Church of Christ is People united in Christ, not buildings, and our disparate parish needs a centre, a heart, for growth as a united parish in the 21 st century .   WE ARE ONE PARISH!   As we celebrate our APCM and elect new office bearers, we remember once again that we are one parish and the elected representatives, the Churchwardens and the PCC, as well as sidesmen and other office holders, represent the whole parish not just a part of it. As the musketeers' motto goes: All for One, One for All!  

Revd Sebastian Mattapally

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A NEW VISION FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY   

This page provides information about a new initiative by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) for improving the facilities of our two church buildings at Kirdford and Plaistow, and finding the most appropriate service pattern, so as to make the best use of both church buildings for the furtherance of God's kingdom.

This represents an exciting new vision for our Church family, so by reproducing here articles from our Parish Magazine The Parish News, we aim to keep our readers informed about the project as it develops. The complete set of articles are given below, in reverse chronological order.

Letter from the vicarage

Gleanings from the Parish News

Facilities improvements

for our churches