New era for church after £30,000 project finished

The Macks stand by the eco loo
The Macks stand by the eco loo

It is not just the congregation of a village church who are set to reap the advantages of it having a toilet for the first time in its 175-year history.

For St John’s Church at Hurst Green is now open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week for anyone to call in and use it, particularly walkers and 
passers by.

But besides the new “eco loo” toilet – which operates without running water – a new entrance has been installed, new footpaths created and the interior has been redecorated.

The church is hoping visitors will call in and enjoy its beautiful surroundings. Residents and visitors alike are not only invited to sit and enjoy the tranquillity of St John’s, but also make use of the tourist information area which has been created.

This is brimming with information on the history of the church, the village and the Ribble Valley as a whole.

Vicar Gill Mack says the church is also hoping to offer hospitality in the refurbished vestry which has been turned into a kitchen.

She says that five years ago the congregation was asked what it would most like, and the response was a toilet and a new exit, both suitable for the disabled. She said: “It was going to cost thousands for mains drains, but as we are an ‘eco church’ why not have an ‘eco loo’?”

Two years ago the project was launched in earnest, and while the planning side took longer than expected, the £30,000 needed was raised within a year, 10 per cent of the sum going to provide 30 “eco loos” in Tanzania.

The Rev Mack said: “The only bit we have left to do is the text above the archway inside the church with the words ‘Be Still and know that I am God’ from Psalm 46,” adding that this is just what they would like people to do: to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet in the house of God.