Updated: Jul 11, 2019
I believe God is calling us to transition to a new phase in our journey. A phase in which there is a step change in the extent we are vision-led, passionate in our worship, devoted in our prayer, radically loving and clear, proactive and ambitious in our mission. Several things will happen to enable this transition including building our core leadership team and engaging and empowering the wider church family in mission. But in addition to this, I sense the call of God to take our first significant steps in developing our buildings. Responding to this call is a ‘faith-risk’ as we do not yet have all the money we need for these changes, but I believe and trust in a God who provides for those he calls.
‘And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.’ 2 Cor 9:8
We have a responsibility to hear and respond to the call of God in this so that we can pave the way for the future and the realisation of our vision to:
…be the family of God on mission seeking to transform Clarendon Park and beyond with the love and power of Jesus Christ.
Specifically, the PCC are planning to:
Install flexible seating in place of pews
Upgrade our facilities for Welcome and Hospitality
Upgrade our power supply
Landscape the garden
Improvements to aesthetics and ambiance of our worshiping space
Various other minor changes to office, etc. and engaging an architect for phase II
These changes represent Phase I of what we envisage to be a multi-phase project.
We are excited by these changes due to the impact they will have. Our goal is to have them all complete in time for September. Excitingly, we have recently received formal permission to replace the pews with chairs and have received a further significant gift from a congregation member that kick-starts our fund-raising. Both these things add to our sense that the right time is now.
Here we summarise more information about the key changes and about the required fund raising and how you can get involved.
Replacing our Pews with Chairs
We have amazingly been able to replace our pews with chairs. Thanks to the huge generosity of St John's family! Our first church service with a new layout took place on the 14 July.
The benefits of chairs over pews include.
Enabling mission through increased flexibility – Flexible seating enables a wide variety of uses of the building that lead to mission, build community and generate income. For example, we could accommodate a larger Alpha course, we could much more easily accommodate our Friday Sparks Group, new and different missional uses of the building would be possible such as coffee mornings for the elderly, mid-week holy communion services and so on. Possible uses are almost endless in number with flexible seating.
Enable Growth – the seating capacity of the church would more than double with chairs rather than pews. Research that shows that congregations typically stop growing when seating capacity reaches around 70% - we are already frequently at this level.
Enable Contemporary forms of worship – flexible seating would enable different seating arrangements which would enable creative approaches to prayer and worship that would connect with today’s culture in a more relevant way.
Increased income – flexible and contemporary seating will make the church a much more attractive venue for hire.
School – our school is growing. Currently we can only accommodate the school in two halves, very soon even this will not be possible. Being able to seat children on the floor would mean we can accommodate the whole school in one go which carries tremendous symbolic significance.
Upgrade Facilities for Welcome and Hospitality
Welcome and hospitality is a core value and central to so much of what we do. Being able to offer a warm welcome and provide facilities for hospitality is an important part of building community, strengthening relationships and helping new people feel welcome and at home. Great facilities help in the process of mission and discipleship as they help us engage new and existing members of the church family. Such facilities also support income generation by improving the attractiveness of the building as a ‘for-hire-venue’.
We plan to purchase and install some portable kitchen equipment within the main church building. This equipment will cost around £6,000.
Upgrade our power supply
The building currently has an insufficient power supply. We have to manage the use of power carefully to prevent overload. This is a limitation preventing us from for example having two coffee urns running at once.
We need to upgrade to '3-phase power' in order to support the increased missional demands placed on the building. The Cost of this is £11,500.
Landscaping in the garden
We are enormously grateful to the committed members of our church family who spend many hours and much energy maintaining and improving our gardens. The gardens in their current state have many large bushes and shrubs which are a barrier between the road and the church. Our plan is to open up the front garden (we would leave the area under the trees at the East end untouched), so the church is more visible and feels as accessible as possible.
In addition, some simple landscaping will increase the usability of the garden for functions and events. We also plan to install a new notice board enabling us to better publicise services/events.
Costs for the garden range from £2,000 for opening it up to £13,000 for full landscaping.
Improvements to aesthetics and ambience of our worshipping space
We plan some minor improvements that we believe will make a big impact to the usability, aesthetics and ambience of our worshipping space. Recent experience of running Presence has shown us what a difference these types of changes can make. We plan some minor improvements to lighting, purchase of banners, round tables, etc.
The total costs for this are around £5,500.
Various Other Changes
A variety of other minor changes are either underway or planned. We have commissioned a detailed survey of the building which is a critical step for planning future maintenance and development. We are making some improvements to the vestries to enable them to be used as offices to support the larger staff team and create additional meeting space.
These changes will cost around £6,000.
Phase II Kick-Off
All the above represents the first phase of a multi-phase project..
Future phases will include some critical maintenance (masonry repairs, damp-proofing the floor, replacement of archaic heating system, etc.) and development (refurbishment of parish centre, installation of glass doors in the church, glazing off the chapels, knocking through the church into the parish centre). The first step in the next phase is to engage the services of an architect. The cost for this will be £8,000..
All these changes cost money. The total cost for the changes described above will be around £80,000.
The good news is that we already have £47,000 received or committed to fund these changes. This means we need to raise a further £33,000. We have a reasonable level of confidence that we can raise around £20-25,000 from grant making bodies.
This leaves us at least £10,000 to raise.
How can you help?
Completing these building changes is an important part of how we respond the call that God has given us here at St John’s. Embarking on such a project is an ambitious ‘faith-risk’ and one for which we all need to get behind.
So the first thing you can do is to pray! Pray that God releases the funding we need, that his will is done, and that we receive continued guidance and the leading of the Holy Spirit in this.
The second thing you can do is give financially and or organise fund-raising activity.
So, we are encouraging everyone I the church to do one or more of the following as you are able:
Make a donation to cover the wider buildings costs.
Gift aid your donations to enable us to increase their effectiveness.
As an individual or with your group, organise a fund raising initiative (cake sale, sponsored walk, etc.)
To make a donation, click here:
The St John’s PCC is excited by the possibilities ahead. We want you to share our excitement about this next ‘faith-step’ that we believe God is calling us to make. It is the responsibility of al of us to respond to God’s leading in this. Will you join us in praying and giving towards this exciting Kingdom initiative.