It has taken five years planning, including two of hard fundraising, but now a village church is all set for the 21st century after a major £330,000 redevelopment of its interior.
Almost six months since services were switched to venues nearby for the work to be carried out, the congregations of St Mary the Virgin, Goosnargh are looking forward to moving back into their church building.
St Mary’s will re-open this Sunday, February 11, with services at 8.30am, 11am and 6.30pm and Bishop of Blackburn, the Rev Julian Henderson will carry out its re-dedication on March 12.
Particularly excited about the culmination of the redevelopment project is Fellside Rector the Rev Steve Cooper, who leads the five church strong team, of which St Mary’s is one.
“I hope we have developed the church in a way which is going to help its missive going forward and also which places it at the heart of the hub of the community for the next generations,” he said.
The project includes new glazed and engraved interior doors as one enters, with new open area to the right with chairs surrounding the War Memorials to create more room for Remembrance Sunday and christenings. There is a welcoming, open area at the back of the church and in the north aisle a striking, new enclosed community room with glazed, engraved walls and next to this, space for displays and storage cupboards. Then to the front of the church there is now an extended chancel platform, making it far more suitable for concerts and school services.
The church has been newly carpeted throughout and has new heating and sound and vision systems and while a number of pews have been removed, the church can still seat the same amount of people as before.
“It is all about making the building more flexible so it can be used better by the church, the school and the community,” said Mr Cooper, adding he wished “to pay a huge thanks” to churchwardens Geoff Sumner and David Maddocks and the project team who had worked “exceptionally well in making this project come about” and to Parkinsons Builders who had done “a brilliant job in working with our ancient church”.