Ambitious plans for Baptist Church
Published on: 09 Oct 2015
AMBITIOUS plans have been unveiled to transform Downend Baptist Church for the 21st century.
Church leaders want to create a new church hall behind the church in Salisbury Road and to link the two buildings with a glass-roofed central hub.
Minister, the Rev Andy Machin, said the scheme would bring the 230-year-old church up to date and create facilities for the community for the next 50 to 100 years.
“It is an investment in the future of the church,” he said. “Our building is at the heart of the community and we want to provide a centre for everyone living nearby, with particular emphasis on children and families and on people who are on their own.”
The development, which has been greeted with enthusiasm by congregation members of all ages, is awaiting planning consent from South Gloucestershire Council.
The aim is for the work to be carried out in two phases; first, the creation of a standalone hall, with a modern kitchen and toilets; then, later, the hub.
The scheme replaces a plan that was approved in 2002 but was never carried out. The new hall replaces two church halls that have recently been demolished.
Mr Machin said that youth activities and other group meetings were currently being held in the main church building. A standalone hall would provide better facilities for these groups and would also be available for hire to other organisations to provide income to the church.
Mr Machin said he hoped the improvements would draw more people into the life of the church.
Downend Baptist Church was built in 1786 as a Meeting House and offshoot from Broadmead Baptist Church. The church was extended in 1862 to incorporate a schoolroom. The front porch area was altered and extended in the 1980s to incorporate a new entrance and toilets.
The new development has been designed in a contemporary style to contrast with the original building.
The planned hub will link to the church by a glazed roof. The area will act as welcoming space and improve the flow of larger numbers of people for big services such as weddings, baptisms and funerals.