Members of a Baptist Church in Buckinghamshire are undertaking a major refurbishment project which will transform the main church building into a modern environment suitable for a wider variety of uses - including fulfilling its vision of performing more dramas.
The refurbishment project at Princes Risborough Baptist Church, which has been eight years in the planning, will focus on removing the current pulpits and pews, and redesigning the platform area at the front of the church. The project will include major refurbishment of the organ which is a designated war memorial.
New carpets, chairs, electrics, heating, audiovisual equipment and lighting, will fill the space, transforming it into a modern worship area, that is more attractive, comfortable and flexible than it is at present. The project will also involve refurbishing the toilets and providing disabled facilities.
The whole worship area will become more fit for purpose, and suitable to fulfill the church’s vision of performing more dramas and delivering other contemporary performances. (In October 2011 the church successfully produced and performed its own drama Just Ordinary Men, based on a sermon series
'It will be much easier to deliver performances effectively, with the new platform, audiovisual and with chairs that can be moved,' said minister the Revd Richard Allwood (pictured), 'It will also be helpful for the community classes that use the facilities.
'At the moment we have dance classes, art classes, keep fit, and even the blood transfusion service using the church facilities. The project will give us more options to use the worship area of conferences, training and for different uses by others within the community.'
The project will also incorporate some of the church's historical features, thought to be more than 300 years old. Most of the church interiors date back to 1814, when the church was built, but parts of it go back to 1707 when there was a Christian Meeting House on the site.
Beneath the floorboards today, is the original baptismal pool which may be as old as the Meeting House of 1707. Next to that, is the water-well that was used to feed the baptismal pool. As part of the refurbishment, the water-well will be made into a feature, with a dome-glazed top and soft lighting.
He added, 'The whole project has been eight years in the planning. We have received two generous legacies and these, combined with the giving of church members, and some fundraising, is making it all possible.
'It's been a big commitment of faith and vision. Ultimately, the hope is to eventually deliver ‘phase 2’ as well. This would link the whole worship area with the foyer, to include further meeting areas.'
At the moment, all services, Sunday school classes, and community events, are being held in the lower hall. It is hoped the work will be completed by mid-March. 'We would like to celebrate Easter in the new church,' said Richard,
There is an artist’s impression and more information on the website: www.risboroughbaptist.org.uk/buildingproject.htm