Hanbury Church Community Consultation

Hanbury Church Community Consultation

13 Jun 2019 • Other News

Last nights Community Consultation meeting was a huge success with around 50 people attending. There were display boards on show (which can still be viewed in church) and many ideas suggested in how to make the most out the available space, that Hanbury church has to offer.
The PCC are keen to hear any ideas for broader use of the building. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please contact us, we'd love to hear from you.

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Tonights speach written and presented by Mark Bishop - Hanbury PCC Vice chairman

"A very warm welcome one and all to the Church of St Mary.

Walking over here it felt as though I should be starting off with a “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this evening to ………. but that would be giving entirely the wrong impression about what tonight is all about.

For sure, this Church is focused on its core Christian purpose, services are held here every Sunday for all those who want to avail but this evening is only obliquely about the religious work of the church, it is much more about changes to the building and how the community, the whole community, can use this wonderful building. That means you!

First the good news. I indicated that we are not here to put forward any religious agenda and neither, hang on to your hats, are we asking you to put your hands in your pockets. Tonight we want only your thoughts and ideas.

Whilst not in the centre of the village geographically speaking (wherever that is!), St Mary’s is still at the very heart of village life in many traditional ways; weddings, christenings, funerals, carol services at Christmas, harvest festival and the like, and also through connections with Hanbury Hall and very strong links with the village school.

There are also many other secular roles that the building itself serves, unconnected to the Church of England …. It is very a popular tourist destination, a hub for ramblers, dog walkers, seekers of peace and quiet etc., even an occasional concert venue. Many thousands visit each year.

The largest church for miles around with its incomparable hill-top setting it’s no surprise that people love it for many different reasons. And we welcome them all. But we want to see it used more.

Over the years we have tried to make the church building more approachable, accessible and useable by and relevant to the whole community. The installation of the public conveniences (more than a little controversial at the time) and the kitchen are evidence of this and are much appreciated by parishioners and visitors alike.

We demonstrate that welcome by opening the church every day and operating the honesty café and bookshop. We have, after a little local difficulty, had a three phase power supply installed so that we might complete a project to install heating in the whole of the main aisle (not just the front few rows) and have had endless discussions about completing a long planned project to create space by removing pews from the North Aisle.

It is probably common knowledge that we have been the very fortunate and grateful recipients of a significant bequest from the estate of the late Brenda Barber who very astutely specified that it must be spent only on the fabric of the building and grounds – that money cannot and will not be used for any other purpose.

This will enable us to start turning some of those ideas we have been mulling over into reality and although Brenda’s gift won’t cover everything it will more than kick start the whole process – then we might be after your money!

It is so important for the church building to be relevant to village life in the 21st century – to your lives. It’s not just our church it is your church, everyone’s church. What could you use it for?

A Grade 1 listed building takes a lot of upkeep and this one is very well maintained but that heritage status also means that making changes requires that a lot of planning and legal procedures must be followed. A key one of these being a process of consultation with the local community – why we are all here tonight.

We are required to justify changes on the basis of need, we are not here just to proffer our ideas - we want yours, so please think about:-

1. Physical changes to make the church building a more useful, comfortable, welcoming space to all and probably more important,

2. What would you like to see happen here in terms of events, meetings etc., how might you use the space, what could and should the building be used for?

3. What would you or any organization you belong to or represent do in the church if it were differently organized or had better facilities?

4. Could the church be a venue for cultural and social events?

Please get thinking! Every suggestion will be considered and “outside the box” thinking is good!

Members of the team charged with taking this project forward will be stationed around the church with

information on different aspects of development – heating, power supply, pew removal, accessibility etc., – but more importantly they want to hear from you! So, please circulate with a glass of wine and engage in conversation – we really do need your input, honestly. We are all ears.

By email I’ve already had one very well thought out and detailed set of ideas for us to look at from Janet Winslow. There are also suggestion sheets for you to complete now or later with ideas big and small if you’d rather do it that way.

We will coordinate all responses we receive and undertake to keep you informed perhaps via the Hanbury Herald, village and church noticeboards and email should you wish.

Please stay as long as you like and enjoy the wine and cheese all donated for our pleasure this evening - thank you to all involved.

Most of you know some or all of the PCC members here tonight but just to be sure could I ask the usual suspects to stand up and be identified …….

So more than enough from me. If you have been, thanks for listening. Please, now go forth, engage with these good people and let’s work out the future together.

Easier to do than Brexit after all."