The story of our New Extension, our New Entrance, and our Mosaic
Before and after
This postcard (copies are on sale in the church!) shows what St Oswald’s looked like before work started in 2012. There had been no significant change to the appearance of the building since its consecration in 1908.This picture was used as part of the composite image that you can see at the top of our web pages.
The church in June 2015
Work begins – August 2012
After months of planning and an anxious wait for approval from the various authorities, work at last began on our new entrance block. The extension would contain new toilet facilities and additional storage space. Once the work was complete (originally hoped for well in time for Christmas!) it would be possible to enter the church without the need to negotiate the steps. It was intended to present a more welcoming entrance and hopefully project the image of an active parish that was definitely “open for business”!
The existing side porch was to be carefully dismantled and the stonework reconstructed to become the part of the new block that faces the main road. The existing main entrance would be retained but would no longer be the principal way in or out of the church.
The work was financed mainly by the proceeds of the sale of Holy Trinity, Kerridge, but we also needed further funds to assist with the cost of the building work and other improvements that we wanted to carry out. These included upgrading the lighting and sound systems in the church building, improving our kitchen facilities and redecorating the vestry.
We launched a simple 2012 fundraising campaign! People were invited to become one of 2012 people who would be kind enough to contribute (at least) £20.12p by the end of that year (gift-aided if possible) and so help us raise another £40,000 towards our ongoing building and maintenance projects.
The new entrance is almost ready – December 2012
The exciting creation of a new level access main entrance with added toilet and storage facilities at St Oswald’s was almost complete! Our builders had been working hard since the end of August, despite adverse weather conditions, to enable the extension to be fully ready for use early in the New Year. The fruits of their labours were a delight to see and we looked forward to final completion in early January.
Meanwhile our services continued as normal and our new level access was now available especially for those who find difficulty climbing steps.
As you can see, the workmen took a brief moment away from their tasks to be photographed by the Vicar! Even Heloise the architect and Michael our Project Manager couldn’t escape the camera, neither could our Churchwarden Jackie, captured making an inspection of the smart new facilities on Midwinter’s Day!
A Work of Art! – March 2013
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, several members of Bollington Well Dressing community came into St Oswald’s to help create an Easter Collage of natural materials for display in the old porch doorway on our new extension.
We are grateful to all those whose skill, imagination and resourcefulness enabled this temporary work of art to happen. Led by Val Garforth and Janet Beech, the congregation joined in with the more experienced group of Well Dressers to complete the picture.
With the able assistance of Allen Stringer, the finished picture was put in place on Good Friday afternoon, where it stayed for the duration of the Easter season. We hoped it would inspire our worshippers, all passers-by and visitors to the church to claim for themselves once more the eternal message of God’s grace and new life and hope at Easter and always.
What should go in the blank doorway? – May 2013
The Chancellor of our Diocese and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) had encouraged us to complete our new extension by thinking creatively about what would be placed in the former porch doorway, now situated on the left-hand side of St Oswald’s Church as seen from the road.
We were asked to submit our chosen idea for this space to the DAC and to the Chancellor in order to obtain final approval under the agreed terms of our building works’ permission, this item being held in abeyance as a “reserved matter” under our faculty.
The Parochial Church Council had been deliberating over this important feature for several months now and had succeeded in narrowing down a broad range of choices. We were extremely fortunate that funding for this art/craftwork has already been generously offered, so that monetary concerns are for once taken out of the equation! At our PCC meeting on Monday 13 May 2013 it was decided that, before making a final decision to select any one option, we should now submit the three different art/craftwork options for consultation to the wider congregation and community, so that this larger group of parishioners might express their preference for what the Chancellor described as “the decorative treatment of the relocated porch doorway”.
Consequently, during the month of June, we had on display at the back of the church the three different proposals for this art/craftwork and people were invited to write down on a response form which of the three options they would prefer to see commissioned for this space, ideally adding an explanatory comment so that the PCC could appreciate the reasons for preferring the one particular idea chosen. At the beginning of July 2013, all the submitted responses were to be collated and considered by the PCC, whose members will hope to make a final decision on the matter at their meeting on Monday 22 July 2013 (which was about 12 months since the granting of the original faculty).
This would be our joint opportunity to highlight the presence of Bollington Parish Church as a shining witness and servant of our local community, in accordance with that treasured and timeless Anglican Prayer Book tradition and duty of “proclaiming the Gospel afresh in each generation”!
Our new mosaic – a work in progress! – March 2014
Work had started on the mosiac artwork that would be installed in the “blank doorway” to the left of our new church entrance. Members of our congregation, children from “Praise & Play” and our “RICH” group, and members of the general public were invited to come and “make their mark” at a workshop meeting in the church on Friday 28 March 2014. Pupils, staff and teachers from local schools were involved on other days, as are older people in local nursing homes and sheltered housing. The workshops were run by local artist Debra Tracey, who was responsible for the complete work.
The workshop in the church concentrated on creating the border of the design. This border was inspired by the existing mosaic floor around our main altar.
About 100 people attended the first workshop in the church, both young and old. For some it was the first time they had entered the church building. Another workshop was held in church on Saturday 19 April and more were held over the following weeks in other places.
The Bishop of Chester dedicates our new entrance – May 2014
There was a full church on Sunday 25 May and a joyful occasion as the Bishop of Chester presided at our service of Holy Communion. After the service the congregation left the church in procession to gather outside the recently completed new entrance.
In a short ceremony our Vicar, Canon Veronica, gave thanks to God:
- for the faithful stewards of Holy Trinity Church, Kerridge, over the years, and for the wisdom and vision of members of our PCC, who have enabled us to use the money from the sale of that little mission church now to enhance the facilities of our Parish Church of St Oswald;
- for the DAC and its secretary Paul Broadhurst, for the Diocesan Registrar and the Diocesan Chancellor who have all encouraged us in this venture;
- for our Project Manager, Professor Michael Burdekin, who has (amongst other things) negotiated with officials, successfully guided us through all the necessary faculty, conservation and planning permission processes, and has offered us his considerable expertise entirely free of charge;
- for the surveyors, architects, builders, metal-workers, plumbers, roofers, carpenters, electricians and stonemasons who carried out the groundwork, built the new steps and gateway, levelled the paths, re-orientated the old porch, and created and fitted out the new extension;
- for the Head Teacher and Governors of Bollington Cross School who graciously accommodated the temporary disruptions caused by our building works;
- for the generosity of the anonymous benefactors who have funded our community artwork, and for Debra Tracey-Carney, our skilled local mosaic artist, whom we commissioned to carry out this work, and who has involved nearly 850 people of all ages within our community in its creation.
The Bishop then placed the final piece into our mosaic! Canon Veronica read some words from Psalm 90: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations: From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” Bishop Peter then prayed:
God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, Bless all who venture through this new doorway; May the hospitality we can now offer through these enhanced facilities be truly beneficial to all; May each person find a warm welcome and genuine companionship within our congregation; May each person be encouraged to seek after you in worship, and may they recognise your Spirit dwelling within the hearts and minds of each person here. Keep far from this door any who would wish us harm. Bless us with peace and harmony, and with a renewed and courageous vision for the ongoing work of your kingdom.
Canon Veronica prayed:
As we continue to travel the road set before us and each time our eyes catch another glimpse of this mosaic, may we recall St Oswald’s vision that night long ago at Heavenfield to “Be strong and of good courage”, remembering that “the Lord our God is with us wherever we go” (Joshua 1 v 9)
Bishop Peter then gave us his blessing:
May the ascended Christ, who promised to be with us to the end of the age, make us bold in our witness and faithful to our calling, day by day; and the blessing of God the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, rest upon each of us and upon this place, today and always. Amen
The church itself had been beautifully decorated for the “Petals and Threads” event in the Bollington Festival. There had been two weddings on the Saturday and there were two baptisms on the Sunday. The decorations had contributed to these joyful occasions.