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To enhance the beauty of our church with a new altar, lectern, and font, and by replacing the lighting

With some justification we can say that we have one of the most beautiful churches in the diocese and possibly the most beautiful. It can also be said with complete justification that we have one of the worst lighting schemes in the diocese, and very possibly the worst in the three counties. It actually clashes with and detracts from the beauty of the building.

We hope in the summer of 2024 to replace our 40 year old lighting with modern controllable LED lights. These will allow for much greater flexibility in what we illuminate and when, and will include architectural lighting to bring out the beauty of the building as well as spot lighting to highlight devotional features.

To get some idea of the what the new lighting installation will be like click here.

In the jubilee year of 2025 we hope to finish off the re-ordering of our church which was begun about 50 years ago when the temporary wooden altar was installed in the sanctuary. We hope to replace it with a specially designed stone altar and a matching lectern and font. Because our church is listed due to its beauty and history, these things have to have the agreement of several bodies to make sure we are preserving what we should and making changes which are worthy of such a building.

 

One of the bodies is the Historic Churches Committee who have already been involved in discussions about this. The two conditions that they need to be met are (1) that the design fits in with and is worthy of our church, it can be modern or traditional but this criteria must be met, and (2) that the ornate parquet floor of the sanctuary must not be damaged by the altar and lectern, and that as much of the floor as possible should be visible when the altar and lectern are in place.

 

The design must also accord with the guidance of the bishops on the construction care and re-ordering of churches which can be found in this document "Consecrated for Worship".

This is a photograph of the parquet floor showing the vision that the architect Leonard Stokes had in mind when he designed the sanctuary of the church. (He went on to design many famous churches, but this was his first.)

The process of design of a new altar is still ongoing, but we have identified wrought iron as probably the best material for the base of the altar, because due to its strength it can be quite minimal compared for example to stone or wood. The idea for a wrought iron base came from the church itself as there are already several examples of this form of art around our church for example the wrought iron rood above the entrance to the sanctuary shown below.

Inspired by the rood ironwork, the following design for a permanent altar with a matching lectern and font have so far been developed. 

The design of the font shown uses the upper part of our existing font together with a new wrought iron base. The following is a mock up of how the permanent altar might appear in the sanctuary.

The designs have been sent to an award winning blacksmith to see what he would suggest based on these initial ideas.

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Jubilee 2025
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