Future Plans for the Church
According to our current lectionary the Sunday before Advent is now known as “Christ the King”, but Jon took us back into the old Green Book Service Book and kept the 9.30am Eucharist as “Stir Up Sunday”. The day when according to tradition the Christmas puddings were made. The wording comes from the Collect for that day “ Stir up the wills of thy faithful people; that they bringing forth the fruit of good works may be plenteously rewarded”. The congregation was given a cookery demonstration when all the ingredients were brought to Jon by our “Pebbles “ children and later every member of the congregation had an opportunity to stir the mix as they left the church. Later that week the Rectory must have been full of steam as the mini puddings were steamed and then brought back into church the following Sunday to be distributed to all the families present. This was a reminder that Christians everywhere need to be alert and active in the Season of Advent as we prepare for the coming of the Saviour as a babe in a manger. St Mary’s is stirred and alive in so many ways, from supporting the Food Bank, the Shoe Box appeal, Toy Sunday and the various fund raising event for many charities not forgetting the wonderful response to the Christian Aid House to House appeal in May of this year. Thanks to Jon we have responded so well in supporting local and national requests for funds to help others not as fortunate as we are.
A Public Meeting, hosted by The Wenvoe Community Council and St Mary’s Church will be held in the Community Centre on February 8th 2018 at 7pm. To discuss the possibility of the Community Council purchasing the Church Hall.
Reason for selling the Church Hall
The hall began life as “The Reading Rooms” provided for the villagers by Mrs Laura Jenner in 1894. The site occupies cottages which were burnt down and a hall erected as a free reading room, with desks and tables including a fine bagatelle table and other games. Popular newspapers and magazines are supplied and is well patronised. (Report from the Barry and District News of 28th September 1894).
In recent years the Hall was gifted to St Mary’s Church by the Wenvoe Estate and was in 1982/3 extended for a new kitchen and toilet facility . Again in 2003 the hall was altered with a new entrance and a disabled toilet installed with the help of a £20,000 grant from the Welsh Assembly. It is now is dire need of more money to be spent on redecoration, a new kitchen and to upgrade the toilet facilities. The rentals we receive from the various lettings do not cover the outgoing costs of Insurance, Heat and Light, Cleaning and Maintenance. When the Church Council was presented with these facts the decision was taken to place the Hall on the market, and the money raised from the sale to be applied to an extension on the North side of the church, to replicate the facilities we have enjoyed in the Church Hall.
Reason for extending the Church.
St Mary’s is a fine church listed Grade II* in 1968 being of significant historic and architectural interest. The church over many years has been altered and improved i.e.. the Tower was removed and rebuilt in its present position in 1699. A new roof in the 1880’s, the heating system renewed a number of times, electricity installed in 1935. A gallery built and then removed during the Victorian restoration, the transept and larger vestry built in 1991. A sound system was installed and recently added to. All these alterations were needful for a growing church and the church is still growing today and in many ways is simply not fit for the 21st century.
Our vision for the future is to make St Mary’s continue as the worshipping centre of the community, with facilities such as toilet and kitchen together with a suitable extension to replicate the space we have in the Church Hall. There is no space in order to do special events or to entertain after services, both the usual Sunday Services – but to also to be able to offer facility such as Baptism Tea – all under one roof.. The church is very cluttered at the present time as we do not have space to store decorations, equipment, service books, liturgical items and registers. Our Sunday School “Pebbles” do not meet under the same roof as the rest of the worshipping community on a Sunday. This means a walk to cross the road in all weathers. The concept of a Sunday school is that they are part of a congregation, part of the church, not people who go to a different building. A living church is responsible for all its members from the youngest to the eldest. Hence the need to make our successful and growing Sunday School to be a full part of the congregation where we all gather together to be the Church.
The church has always had to look forward and embrace the new. Very few of us would want to attend the cold, dark, draughty church of the 12th century, if a church does not look forward to the future it will stand still and not have anything to offer future generations. Re-developments of St. Mary’s will help us to embrace the future whilst respecting the past and traditions of the church. It will also help us to use the church building more during the week for other activities and it will provide a new facility and meeting room to the village.
We commend our plans and aspirations to the community at large and we wish all readers a Very happy New Year.
. Parry Edwards