Building the Kingdom - All Change


 

When you come into church from May 8th it will be looking a little different, well, a lot different.

So things look a bit different this week – what’s going on? We have had several meetings over the last year to discuss how we can use the space of the church to better enable worship and improve the use of space for community events and welcome. Frequently raised are the issues of ease of participation in worship: in particular does everyone have a view of what is going on, can they hear and does everyone feel included?

We currently have a long, thin layout which leaves some of the congregation very distant from the celebrant and we receive many complaints about not being able to see and hear well.

Following on from the Extraordinary PCC meeting on 11th February (minutes here) where we discussed two different plans for use of church space: one was the current layout with some tweaks and one was a more radical broader and shallower layout which you see modelled today.

The vote for the two different plans was so close that we agreed to trial the more radical layout (“plan G”) allowing us to actually feel and see what it is like.

 

The advantages of this layout are improved sight and sound, a decrease in the distance between the altar and the people and a sense of worshipping together.  In addition, the arrangement is flexible (the dais is moveable) and this allows for alternative use of space (including return to the traditional layout when required).

This trial will go ahead for 3 months.. This will give ample time for everyone to see how it works and give their opinion.

Please come along with an open mind, try it out, then let us know your views

Feedback can be given by email to wardens@holyspirit-clapham.org.uk, or in writing to the church office addressed to the wardens. 




BUILDING THE KINGDOM … THE DEBATE CONTINUES

As (we hope) you are all by now aware, we are in the midst of a lively debate about how to adapt our church building to be fit for worship and mission. 

Following the open meeting held on 27th January to present and discuss the PCC’s proposed plan see here  the Standing Committee met to discuss amending the plans in so far as they affected the Chancel and Sanctuary.  The SC commended two revised plans to the PCC for discussion and opened the meeting to interested members of the congregation.

SO WHAT WERE THE PLANS?

PLAN H 

This Plan restores the chancel and sanctuary area with three changes:

The choir screens remain removed (to offer a more open access to the chancel)

The riddle posts (gold curtained box around the high altar) will be re-configured to place them flat on the wall behind the altar creating an angelic backdrop and the curtains removed.

An arced dais will be constructed to extend and increase the height of the chancel step.  The nave altar will be on the dais and, at larger services, Holy Communion will be both consecrated and received at this altar. 

Plan H2

Proposed at the meeting – essentially the same but with the choir screens returned.

PLAN G 

This plan is simultaneously more radical AND more conservative.  Radical in that the main body of the church would change its orientation: The altar would be placed against the East wall (pulpit side of the church) and the seating swung around in an ellipse.  

Conservative in that the Chancel would be reinstated completely and screened off with doors and panels to create a separate chapel.

Plan G2

Was proposed at the meeting which would remove the chancel screens and not seal off the chancel area and would allow the dais to be placed either against the East wall OR in front of the chancel step so that the church could be used in either orientation.

WHAT WAS DECIDED?

There were excellent and interesting comments from everyone present.  The PCC then had the job of deciding which plan to take forward. This is where the fun began; first the PCC voted on each plan separately H1, H2, G1 and G2. This was indecisive.  SO we then voted on broadly an H option or a G option: The vote was 8 in favour of H and 7 in favour of G.  We then voted on chancel screen or no chancel screens (as this was one of the major differences between the plans 1 and 2) this vote was 7 in favour 7 against and 1 abstention!

It’s great to have choices but sometimes it is hard to choose.  To help us choose it was proposed that we trial plan G: swing the seating round to face the East wall and have the nave altar on a dais.  This will better enable us to assess the pros and cons of the plan and allow those of us who voted either for or against plan G to try it and see if we might change our vote.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHANCEL?

ALL the plans envisage the removal of the temporary screen in front of the high altar and have dropped the idea of creating a new sacristy in that area: the temporary screen will be removed from in front of the high altar, the high altar will go back in the sanctuary, the riddle posts will be reassembled in flattened form and the nave altar will be moved onto the chancel step.

FOR NOW:

The standing committee is currently investigating the possibility of renting a moveable dais.

A moment of calm - the chairs will not be re-orientated until after Easter! 

POSSIBILITIES for future lively debate - THE FONT

Should we move it? If so where to? Should we replace it with a moveable font and new paschal candle stand? What are the advantages and disadvantages of its current position? Its former position? Or any alternative position? 

THANK YOU

I am excited by the level of energy, commitment and creativity which has been generated: debating the adaptation of our building is also about understanding our discipleship: who we are and what are called to become here together.  I believe that these debates will fuel our commitment to our future mission here. 

So I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in proposing plans, amending plans and in commenting on the personal, practical, social, theological and missionological (is that even a word? It is now) aspects of how we use our building for worship and community building.

Please do feel free to speak to the wardens, the Vicar and any members of the PCC or email us with your thoughts and feedback.

With love and thanksgiving for this place and its people

Mother Ruth