Kitchen and storage improvements

The photo above (from Bollington Photo Archive) shows how the “west” end of St Oswald’s looked when the church was first built. Below is how it looks now.

The parish has submitted a Statement of Need document to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for them to give us informal advice about redeveloping our kitchen facilities. It reads as follows:

Statement of Need

1. In addition to our Sunday and Mid-week Eucharists and our monthly Family Worship Services, our church building is presently used on a regular basis, for

  • Praise and Play Parent and Toddler Group on Tuesday mornings
  • RiCH Youth Group after school on Thursday afternoons
  • Recorder Group on Friday afternoons
  • Choir and Orchestra practices on Thursday evenings
  • Faith Hour discussion and prayer meetings on Wednesday afternoons
  • #quietspace: the church is open to visitors during daylight hours on Wednesdays for prayer and reflection (self-service refreshments are available)

Beyond these weekly commitments, on a regular basis we have the “occasional offices” such as Funerals, Baptisms and Weddings, All Souls’ Day Services, Lent Groups and Lent Charity Lunches, monthly Mothers’ Union meetings, PCC meetings and Growth Action Planning meetings. The Church also hosts occasional Deanery Synod meetings, Bollington Festival Choir Concerts, Maundy Thursday Agape Meals and Watch of Prayer, numerous Christmas events, Family Fun Days in the summer holidays, Fundraising activities, Teaching Opportunities for schools and uniformed groups, our annual Schools’ Experience Weeks offered to all five of our local primary schools, and Bollington Cross School’s PTA regularly offer refreshments prior to their children’s events such as annual Reception Class welcome services, Harvest Festivals and Christmas Plays.

2. An extension with fully accessible glazed main entrance porch and three toilets plus an adjoining small storage room was opened in December 2012, using a large proportion of the proceeds of the sale of Holy Trinity Church, Kerridge. The PCC decision to allow the closure of Kerridge Church in 2009 was made with the plan that we would use the sale proceeds to improve the comprehensive welcome and hospitality provision at St Oswald’s, now the Parish Church of Bollington. The new extension (together with our subsequent beautiful community mosaic installation of 2014) has signalled to the local community that we are indeed a vibrant, healthy Church. However this positive image is marred by the inadequate and unsightly kitchen facility that impacts on the eye of the newcomer as they now enter our building from the new porch.

Since its installation under a Faculty granted on 30 July 1999, the existing kitchen/servery hatch and adjacent space (formerly housing an accessible loo) has served its original limited purpose well. However, now that St Oswald’s is our only place of Anglican worship and outreach, our limited catering facilities are restricting our growth, given the ever-increasing necessity of finding innovative ways to accommodate the needs of young and old alike. With inadequate washing-up facilities, limited &/or inaccessible storage cupboards, no fridge, no cooking facilities, and a cramped (and at times unsafe) serving hatch and with only room for two kettles or a small urn to heat water for drinks, we recognise the urgent need for expansion. The consensus is that we need a larger, more fully equipped kitchen so that we are able to offer a wider range of refreshments to our congregation and also importantly to the variety of groups presently using the church, plus other community groups who might be encouraged to use the church in the future. We need greater floor space within the kitchen facility and far more work surfaces so as to allow safe and proper preparation of food and drink, and to enable speedy service of refreshments to all, including members of our regular congregation, our young peoples’ groups and other existing users. Ideally we also need to create better and more discreet storage space for our eleven large and four small folding tables and the rack of 50 stacking chairs, when not in immediate use.

3. Following initial advice from the DAC Secretary in July 2015, reinforced by comments from our Archdeacon in August 2015, we were encouraged to “be bold” in our plans as we consider possible ways forward. The Archdeacon has also suggested that funds may well be available to us as a PCC from the net proceeds of the sale of the former Vicarage, up to a maximum of £20,000, only for use on a mission project, into which category substantial improvements to our kitchen facilities would indeed fall. In considering any plans, the DAC Secretary Paul Broadhurst ventured that “tinkering with your existing west end arrangement is highly unlikely to be the best way forward.” Consequently the PCC is considering two possible proposals, the first idea offered by David Nixon (a student of architecture from our congregation) and the second suggestion offered by our Church Quinquennial Architect, Mark Pearce:

The proposed options can be downloaded by clicking on the highlighted text. each file may take some time to download!

  • (DN option) To reconstitute the kitchen facility in its present location, replacing the current inadequate narrow serving space and store area in such a way as to create an open plan kitchen with worktops/serving counters; to provide much more adequate cupboard space (both wall-mounted as well as below the new work surfaces) for all crockery, glasses, cutlery and other equipment, including cleaning materials; to retain the utility sink; to install a variety of kitchen units and appliances including double sink, hob and oven, fridge, instant boiling water dispenser, dishwasher. This option would necessitate the additional creation of enough storage for our stacking chairs and folding tables, which could be achieved within the former main entrance porch by internally blocking up the outside doorway and maybe replacing the immediately adjacent window at the “west” end of the “south” wall of the nave with a new fire-exit emergency door.
  • (MP option) To relocate kitchen into the former main entrance porch, incorporating most of the improvements envisaged above, again internally blocking up the former main entrance doorway; then to create storage cupboards along the long “back wall” of our existing kitchen/former loo to give enclosed space for our stacking chairs and folding tables; to re-site the existing utility sink within these wall cupboards, together with storage space for cleaning and flower-arranging equipment. This option would have the benefit of also creating much more flexible and open space at the “west” end of the church. As with the first option, Health & Safety rules may also require us to replace the adjacent window at the “west” end of the “south” wall of the nave with a new fire-exit emergency door.

4. At present, our one (awkwardly placed) sink and the single work surface are not sufficient to allow us to cater for anything more adventurous than cakes/biscuits/tea/coffee/juices and are inadequate in catering for increasingly large numbers of people. Currently only a maximum of two people can work (albeit with difficulty) in the enclosed space at any given time. There is no room for a fridge or any other appliance. Inviting greater use of the church building by local community groups/societies is hampered by our limited catering facilities. By providing better kitchen facilities and a more open and flexible space (to complement our new extension) we would hope to increase the use of the building by groups from the wider community, with the added bonus of increasing our income. (For more ambitious catering occasions, as a congregation we are presently able to access the neighbouring Bollington Cross School Hall, but this is subject to permissions, restrictions, payment and other conditions of hire as may be set out by the Head Teacher and Governors of the School pro tem.) We are a forward-looking Church, wanting to invite the community to participate more in activities and services within our own building, including those events that attract larger numbers, such as Christingle Services and Nativity Plays, but also thinking on a more moderate scale where we could offer refreshments after Funerals or Baptisms when families do not always wish to move on to another venue afterwards. We need to be able to offer suitable facilities for refreshments, more safely, quickly and efficiently, whilst spending time with our guests and ministering to them in a more open and unhindered way.

It was agreed at our PCC Meeting 30 January 2017 (12 in favour, 1 abstention) to send our SoN, accompanying photos and outline plans to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for informal advice.

St John’s Bells Ring Out Again!

Sunday 8 January 2017

The bells from the former St John’s church at Bollington have now been re-installed at St Thomas’s church at Stockton Heath, near Warrington, where the vicar, Revd Michael Ridley, is a former curate of Bollington.

Many bellringers turned up to “have a go” after the newly installed peal of bells was blessed by Bishop Peter, including a team from Bollington/Prestbury. Here is a short burst…

Epiphany at Chester Cathedral

The Wise Travellers have arrived!

These figures, only a little smaller than life-size, were created from beaten copper and bronze by sculptor Tony Evans from Kingsley, near Frodsham. The original nativity scene was created in 2013 and the travellers (with their camel) were completed in December 2015. The sculptures stand in a prime position in the Nave of the Cathedral during the Christmas and Epiphany season.

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A new home for the bells from St John’s

WP_20160410_16_58_48_Pro[1]The bells from St John’s Bollington were blessed and dedicated at their new home, St Thomas’s, Stockton Heath at a service on 10 April 2016. Present at the service were a number of parishioners and former bell-ringers from Bollington.

It was desirable to keep the bells within the Chester diocese, and St Thomas’s was the only church available with a tower of suitable size. Extensive repairs to the fabric of the church were necessary before the bells could be installed. The vicar at Stockton Heath, Revd Michael Ridley, was a curate at Bollington in the 1980s.

As well as the eight bells from Bollington, there are two new treble bells (a gift in memory of a parishioner) and the former school bell (the smallest bell – this will not be part of the peal, but will sound the hour). They will be installed over the coming weeks and should be ready for ringing early in January 2017.

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A Hoot for April…

Any guesses as to what this object is? Our artist Ann has captured its complexity and its shiny industrial beauty. It looks rather like a musical instrument but it isn’t, although it used to make quite a noise. In fact it is the actual old steam-driven factory hooter (or blower) from the Adelphi Mill in Bollington, which used to call the cotton workers to start their labours in the morning and get off home in the evening.

It has been acquired for St Oswald’s Church for use instead of the present Church bell. The plan is that the hooter will sound an hour before the time of our Sunday service to wake people up and allow them time for a quick breakfast. It will blow for a full 10 minutes before the actual start of worship at 10.30am. It is believed that the sound of the hooter will reach as far as the top end of Bollington and even Pott Shrigley and Prestbury with the wind in the right direction. Around the Bollington Cross area, it will be quite deafening but the Church Council is of the opinion that it will be welcomed as “a voice from the past reminding people of Bollington’s industrial heritage as well as being a joyful noise and a call to worship” and as the Bible reminds us “to wake up as the night is far spent”. It will be given a trial run (maybe) on the first of April.

The former Holy Trinity church at Kerridge

Visit by some parishioners

Thanks to the kind hospitality of the present owner, a group of parishioners visited the former Holy Trinity Church in Kerridge this afternoon! The building has been imaginatively transformed into a delightful home which has kept all the beauty of the church whilst offering an incredibly versatile, warm and welcoming living space. May God bless all who dwell there, now and in the future!

St John’s church organ

After our former parish church closed in 2003, the Diocese of Chester had to look for appropriate new homes for various artefacts, including the organ and the bells. Finally in 2011 St George’s Church in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire showed interest in acquiring the 1836 Samuel Renn organ. Thanks to various bequests and a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, St George’s PCC were able to raise the necessary amount (of over £100,000) to cover the costs of dismantling, transportation, renovation and installation of this historic instrument in their church.
On Sunday 15 June 2014 a small group from our parish travelled down for the Dedication Service held at St George’s, conducted by the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Martyn Shaw.
Here are some photos taken in Spring 2011 as the organ was being dismantled and taken away from St John’s Church. These are followed by photos taken at the Dedication Service at Nailsworth, during which the Interim Vicar of Nailsworth acknowledged the gift of the organ from Bollington and thanked both the organ builder and the representative of the Lottery Fund who have enabled the organ to be welcomed into a new home. After the service St George’s delighted organist was pleased to allow Paul Broadhurst to give an impromptu recital (Paul is the Chester DAC Secretary who helped arrange the re-homing of the organ) encouraged by one present and one former Churchwarden of Bollington!