Church opens after £180,000 renovation project
The church was packed for the opening service, welcoming many people from the local community.
The Rector, Revd Dr Andy Lord, said: “There has been outstanding generosity from those involved at St Helen’s. We are grateful to everyone who has pulled together to make this happen, and to the charities that have given so much finance to support it.
“It is a real encouragement to continue developing our sense of community. The challenges have brought us back to the heart of Christian faith: Jesus who came to care for all and to bring hope.
“We are so grateful for the generations who have sustained the building over the centuries and hope this sensitive re-ordering will serve church and community for many decades to come.”
The improvements were four years in the planning and were initially driven by a desire to install a modern heating system to keep the church warm in the coldest winter weather.
The scheme grew and the church now also has a newly insulated floor which runs at one level right through to the communion rail, giving full disabled access. Pews have been replaced with chairs, a new glazed oak outer door at the porch has replaced the old iron gate, a new audio/music system has been installed with an induction loop for hearing aid users, and the new video/data projection system is unique in the village for community use.
Phases three and four of the scheme will follow to tackle issues involving power and lighting, the vestry/crèche, some internal stonework, cleaning of the nave walls and the restoration of historical and heritage features.
The whole scheme will cost about £180,000, of which a significant portion is being raised by the congregation through direct giving and fundraising, with the rest coming from grants, particularly from WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK.
Events that could now take place in the church, freeing up space in the church hall, include school activities, midweek meetings, the Village Coffee Pot, charity events, youth and children’s work, arts and flowers festivals, music and drama events.
The Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Tony Porter, led the service to celebrate the completion of the project’s first two phases.
An open day was held in the week following, offering people the opportunity to drop in to view the new-look interior. It also featured an informal music concert with a musical group from Trowell CofE Primary School, worship band from Bluecoat CofE Secondary School and local flute, saxophone and piano/organ players.