PRESS RELEASE FOLLOWING OUR ANNEXE OPENING WEEKEND
A multi-functional community space has been created from a need for some new toilets at a local church.
St Helen’s Church Stapleford celebrated the official opening of their Community Annexe on 27th January, by the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham.
In 2008 the Grade 2* listed church was beautifully internally re-ordered, thanks largely to the sale of another church in the parish. However, the plan did not incorporate new toilets, so shortly after the Rev’d Canon Peter Huxtable arrived as vicar in 2010, a group were keen to put toilets back on the agenda.
The vision grew beyond the call of nature to the creation of a new venue built on the side of church with a cloistered walkway, meeting venue, and contemplative courtyard, that could be used by community groups independent of the church. The vision also grew to develop a whole new side to the ministry of the church.
“This new space, built the way it’s designed, is a recognition that conversation and dialogue in an informal atmosphere is how many people today make big strides in coming to faith. So, making this space attractive, spiritual and comfortable was very much in our minds. This certainly stretched us in our faith financially and helped us persevere through a very long and, at times, stressful route to getting all the permissions and enough promised finance to build the Annexe”.
The £325,000 project has been funded largely through church members’ donations, alongside important grants and community fundraising.
Peter continues: “We found that by keeping our eyes on this wider calling from God gave us the boldness to believe we could build the Annexe as well. With God’s inspiration, we have been able to fund the new church plant, pay our parish share, and pay all the bills to date on the Annexe, even when costs were rising.”
And so St Helen’s are rejoicing in God’s power at work among them, excited by all the potential this new space now offers – although the vicar is adamant that he’s not touching a building project again with a barge-pole for many years to come!
A PRAYER FOR THE NEW ANNEXE SPACE
Living God, we thank you for your vision for the whole creation and call to share in your mission.
We pray for your strength and guidance as you grow your church through our new Annexe building, gathering our community and bringing more people to faith as we grow our spiritual space.
We pray for your enlightenment as we bring forward your plans with energy and creativity, deepening our trust in you and knowledge of you.
Give us your vision to look outwards to all in every kind of need by serving and blessing our community, near and far, in the things we do and choices we make.
Strengthen us to be generous with the money and gifts you give us, to form a disciple growing haven that reflects the natural beauty of your creation.
Living Lord, come, grow us in our discipleship of Jesus and make disciples of others for the blessing of the world you love.
Be close with us, shine your light as we welcome all who will enjoy being in this new place. Let the Annexe resound with the prayers, joy and laughter of all of your children.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
A NEW SONG WRITTEN FOR THE ANNEXE OPENING WEEKEND
Open the doors
Welcome all into this holy space
Your living church
Lord, we long to share your peace and grace
Fired by your love
Joining as one
‘til we belong
In your kingdom where there’s room for all
Open the doors
Bring your light into our darkened lives
Break forth your dawn,
Jesus step inside, with you we dine
Loved from the start
Ignite our hearts
Each one a part
Of your kingdom where there’s room for all
Open the doors
Send your people out to bless this town
Break down the walls
More and more can know where love is found
Last will be first
Our wrongs reversed
Hunger and thirst
For your kingdom where there’s room for all
© Jan 2019