Patron – The Princess Royal

EXCITING NEWS: The Princess Royal, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, has princessroyalaccepted our invitation to be patron to the Minchinhampton Fundraising Appeal for the building works necessary at Minchinhampton Church. Those who receive the Minchinhampton magazine will find there is a letter from me launching the 6 P’s Appeal: Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present, Planning for Posterity. Please put Friday 4th November 7pm in your diary when we will be launching the Appeal with a party in the Porch Room at Minchinhampton Church! We can tell you about some of the wonderful events we also have planned for over this next year! Everyone who receives and reads the Amberley magazine – please know you are also all welcome, and can pick up leaflets for more information from Minchinhampton Church.
(Published in the Minchinhampton Parish Magazine, November 2016)

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6P’s Update

How are we doing? The 6P’s campaign – protecting the past, preserving the present, planning for posterity.

The main news is that we’re still on schedule for Advent!

A great deal has been achieved since 29th August when work began on the church so much so that we felt it important to share developments with all of you who have and are supporting the 6P’s campaign.

Protecting the past:

Chiz Harward, the archeologist, has been investigating the uncovered floor area left by the Victorians which has all been documented and recorded for a final report. His blog at http://urban-archaeology.blogspot.co.uk). or through the church website www.minchchurch.org.uk makes for fascinating reading. Selected artifacts are taken for careful analysis, dating, photographing and eventual storage. One of particular importance is the “Mason’s setting out drawing inscribed on a limestone slab, the drawing appears to match the finished tracery of the side windows of the mid 14th century south transept.” The hope is that this will eventually be on display in the church. Prior to building up the floor, the architect, archeologist, structural engineer and builder have been collaborating very closely to ensure that tombs and graves in the floor are protected whilst a firm base is developed over them on which the floor and heating system can be installed. The Past is being Protected.

The pews have mostly been re-housed locally including 26 in Minchinhampton Rugby Club changing rooms! We’ve asked people to send us photos of their relocated pews for the scrap book.

Preserving the Present Water water everywhere! You will be familiar with the extremely high levels of damp in the building recorded over the last couple of years. Of the contributory factors there are two recent discoveries:

  1. a blocked drainage culvert found running under the church which, it has been decided, will act as a useful route for rainwater disposal from the north to the south side of church. The disposal of rain water from the north side of the building has been a problem under discussion for some time now; the culvert provides a neat and cost effective solution which does not involve any additional digging into sensitive areas. Left unattended this blocked drain would probably have eventually led to the collapse of the stone floor above it.
  2. a cistern has been discovered under the sacristy. This will be drained and safely investigated towards the best solution.

October and November will see the building up of the floor and the installation by Jupiter of the new heating system. The layers of material under the stone floor will include a substantial amount of insulation to ensure the effectiveness of the system. The terracotta tiles, which go on top of the heating pipes, will assist in providing the radiant type of heat recommended for the preservation of ancient buildings. All of this will contribute to reducing the extreme dampness and the damage to the fabric that this has been happening: preserving both past and present.

Planning for Posterity

The Architect, Antony Feltham King and Nick Miles, the builder, are in close liaison with the Church Wardens and Building Group. Applications for grants are ongoing. With the new more welcoming entrance porch in mind, Fund raising continues, overseen by the Fund Raising Group, but in some cases instigated independently by interested people: the (shared with Horsfall House) Open Gardens in July raised £1,275 for the church; yoga classes on Monday afternoons continue and have now raised nearly £1,000; promises from the promises Auction are still being fulfilled. Other events include the Rectory tea in July which raised £483 whilst future events include: a coffee morning (cake and bacon butties) on Saturday 18th November 10.30 – 12 noon; a wine/cheese tasting evening in January/February 2018; the possibility of a medieval banquet later in 2018 when we’re back on our feet!

The Porch room currently hosts 40 of the 300 new chairs with the rest due to be delivered at the end of November including the recommended 5% of chairs with arms. Sponsorship has been received for 150 chairs 64 with plaques. The chair sponsorship campaign has been taken out to local businesses and organisations with some success. Much discussion has gone into the design of the choir stands with Chris Thompson, a well known local furniture maker. At £835 each, they accommodate two people, will be movable, oak laminated and with the Holy Trinity sign, so apparent throughout the church and church yard, being carved on the front. The prototype looks very beautiful. Sponsorship for two choir stands has been received and more is hoped for.

We will be back in church during December, albeit with a red terracotta floor: the beautiful limestone flooring, again with the pattern of the Holy Trinity inlaid into it, will be laid early next year: the church gradually returning to normal ready for Easter. Following this: a dedication service and celebratory party is planned; weddings are being booked and requests for the church as a concert venue are coming in. There is much to look forward to: the planning for posterity has only just begun!

Thank you again to all who have supported the 6P’s campaign. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any queries. Updates will continue to be given on the church website, in the Parish Magazine, and in the weekly church news (green sheet). The last two can be collected from the Porch room at almost any time along with the 6P’s campaign leaflets (yellow); chair sponsorship forms and reordering gift aid envelopes (white). These items are all on top of the cupboards at the back of the Porch room for people to help themselves.  

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The Theo Chair

The Victorian Society recently commended ‘the Parish for its choice of Theo replacement chairs’- if you would like to sponsor a chair(s) in memory of a loved one, to mark a special occasion or simply contribute towards chair(s) pick up a leaflet at the back of church or download one by clicking on the image below.  Talk to the church wardens: Howard or Mandy.

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Fund Raising Concert – 1 April

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Auction of Promises

A full list of Promises can be viewed on the Church website

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Six Ps Update 12 November 2016

sixpsupdate121116

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Christmas Nearly New Sale – 19 November

nearlynewsale

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Launch Party

6pcheesewine

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Re-ordering Plans for Holy Trinity Church

If you have not yet visited Minchinhampton Church to see the architect’s first draft of proposals for the re-ordering, then please do go and take a look at the displays, plans and photographs in church. After presenting them to the local community on 5th March, we are continuing to assess your feedback and comments. Thank you for such wonderful responses. The building project team are feeling very encouraged by your comments. The plans will remain on view over the next few weeks, as we take it on to the next stage. Our meeting with the DAC – The Diocesan Advisory Committee – is in the diary and we are busy applying for further grants and setting up a fund-raising campaign to raise the additional capital we need. We are delighted to be working with the Market House, as we seek to endorse one another’s plans and provide complementary not competitive spaces within our community. By the time this goes to press, we should have the proper breakdown of projected costs for the plans. We are currently on target for beginning the actual work immediately after Easter 2017.

Meanwhile, it seemed helpful to give a summary of the plans that were presented.

In the presentation, I reminded us that we have to address the problems with our church building: namely, damp, humidity and heating issues; acoustic problems: disabled access; flexibility of space for both church and for community – our traditional role as a superb concert venue, for instance. The brief we gave the architect asked him to address these issues and ensure that there were alternative locations for the focus of worship – the high altar in the Chancel, which we will continue to use as appropriate, a nave altar, and the preservation of the essential character of the Lady Chapel as a place for smaller services and private prayer. We may not have the money to do everything yet, but we are in the fortunate position to do the majority.

Heating, Seating, Flooring
The first issue will be to address issues of heating, seating and flooring. churchsection
The proposal is to remove the pews and their wooden platforms (which probably rest simply on the earth) and install an under-floor heating system based on hot water pipes, and create a new level stone floor from the entrance to the steps at the high altar. This raising the whole floor to one level – that of the chancel. A slight gradient at the entrance to achieve this will be no more than the camber you get on an ordinary road. To give maximum flexibility to the building, the proposal presented suggested chairs which connect, and the samples provided are still in church if you would like to try them out! The sets of chairs would be easily movable, and could be readily stacked when not in use.

The Rood Screen and the Lady Chapel
churchlessroodscreen
Photograph created by the architect with the rood screen removed.

The proposal is to make the most of our rood screen by moving it 90° into the archway between chancel and Lady Chapel. This has the advantage of opening up the chancel both in terms of accessibility to the high altar and chancel (we currently suffer from bottle-necks on Sundays!) and opening up the view to the glorious East window and beautiful and unusual painted chancel ceiling. It also helps to enclose the Lady Chapel and keep it as a place set apart for quiet prayer. The rood beam will remain where it is.

The Chancel and Choir
The chancel will remain as it is, but with the present choir stalls removed and some new, specially designed moveable choir stalls that accommodate music stands. This means the chancel can be cleared of these when we need that space opening up, but means also that the choir can be gathered behind a nave altar, rather than lined up at the sides of the chancel. The point is there will be greater flexibility for where the choir needs to be for both individual services and for particular parts of the services.

Nave and High Altar
The proposals included a nave altar on a moveable dais, and so capable of being moved – and removed – when required. A new altar table, worthy of its liturgical significance, will be designed for this. These plans enable us to continue to use both a nave altar and a high altar, according to what the services we offer demand. The proposals over moveable choir stalls also means that the chancel can be used as a small chapel for services of up to 50 people – a space we currently lack and desperately need, where we can place seating in the chancel facing the high altar. This will create an intimate and beautiful space to worship.

The Font
The proposals include moving the font from the side in the baptistery as you come in, to a central position in the baptistery. Theologically, this is significant! The font is always near the door, for it is our entry point into the Church, and our life is lived between font and altar. To have it central returns it to its paramount importance in our journey of faith: baptism is supposed to be inconvenient! It is supposed to interrupt our lives and enable us to live differently, and therefore our walking around the font as we enter church helps us to remember this. The font, high altar and pulpit will become the only fixed points in the church. With everything else moveable, we will create a truly flexible space which meets current needs and the needs of future generations, who will be able to use the space as they wish.

Entrance to Church and New Storage
It is proposed that glass doors replace current entrance doors, making the building more welcoming and inviting to visitors. A new storage area, leading off from the ‘back door’ between the toilets and kitchen, will enable us to house the large staging we have for concerts (currently stored behind ugly boards at the back of the church, taking up an inordinate amount of space) as well as the extra seating for when we have large events and need to seat 300.

Final Comment
It is worth remembering that the vast majority of the building stays exactly the same. We are opening up the flexibility to better serve our worship and our community needs. To do this, we are really developing a more comfortable, flexible space and moving the furniture round, rather than anything else. We look forward to updating you on progress through this process as we seek to care for, maintain and enhance this wonderful building!

Helen Bailey

floorplan

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