£1m vision of hope for church and community
Published on: 30 May 2017
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A new 'Grace Room' will overlook Downend Cricket Ground as a tribute to the area's most famous son - the legendary cricketer WG Grace.
A state-of-the-art sound system will mean the church can put on more concerts and gigs as well as hosting conferences.
Christ Church vicar, the Reverend Jo Vickery, said: "Exciting times are ahead for Christ Church and for all of us who live locally.
"The vision to make one of the oldest and most significant buildings in the area ready and relevant for the 21st century is about to become a reality.
"The changes in 2017 are part of a story of constant change since the original church was built in 1831 as each generation sought to adapt the building for the needs of the time.
"Following extensive consultations over many years, plans are now in place to radically improve the potential of Christ Church Downend as a place where community is built, creativity is celebrated and Christian spirituality can be explored and deepened."
The main changes include:
nCreation of an adaptable central space by laying a beautiful stone floor and replacing pews with high quality seating
n New underfloor heating, lighting and AV systems will extend the church's capacity to host concerts and conferences as well as enhance the range of styles that worship can be offered throughout the week
n The whole of the lower floor will be on one level, all pathways around the church upgraded and external lighting significantly improved
nA simple prayer chapel will offer space to find stillness and time to reflect and connect with God
n An enlarged kitchen will enable the church's ministry of hospitality to grow
nA different side entrance will be made at the end of the path from the car park and the new Grace Room will overlook the cricket ground
nThe CAP office (Christians Against Poverty) will be part of extended office space for staff
nThe Garden Room, formerly a choir vestry, will be a light and airy space, making it ideal for the various community and church groups such as parent and toddlers, the gardening group, craft group and the bereavement group that already use other parts of the church.
Work is expected to start in the autumn and last nine months. During that time Christ Church will be closed, but the life of the church will continue and the Parish Office and the Hall will be open as normal.
The church's 10.30am service, with groups for children and young people on Sundays, will take place at Christ Church C of E Junior School in Pendennis Road thanks to the backing and support of headteacher Pippa Osborne and governors.
Rev Vickery said: "As a church we see this initiative as a once in a generation investment in the future and we are committed to paying for this project by giving sacrificially.
"We are trusting that God will continue to be faithful as he always has been. The work will cost in the order of £1 million. Over half of this has already been given or raised in other ways. We have also tithed our giving so that we have been able to pay for the building of a brand new church in Moldova, the poorest country in eastern Europe, in partnership with the Charity Transform Europe Now (TEN). This has made a massive impact in the tiny village of Ursoaia as Pastor Misa and the small Christian community there express God’s love in acts of kindness and compassion among the poor and marginalised."
Rev Vickery added: "The challenge now is to find the remaining £500,000."
Anyone interested in helping the church meet its target can donate or pledge money up until September.
The church's Building4Life team will look at additional ways of raising the money, including applying for grant funding.
If any individuals or businesses would like to know more about the project and how to play a par, please visit www.christchurchdownend.com or get in touch with Maggie Nichols and the Building4Life Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org