Together with our sister church in St. Albans, Hatfield Road Methodist Church, we are embarking on two exciting projects:
We aim to establish a Gift of Years Anna Chaplaincy in the city in order to share God’s love with the elderly wherever they may be: in residential care, in congregations, in their own homes and in the community. Such a chaplaincy will be an ecumenical appointment and will build on existing relationships between churches and residential homes as well as nurture new ones.
Linked to the Bible Fellowship’s Gift of Years network, the full time Anna Chaplain will model a form of Chaplaincy that meets the spiritual needs of older people – including those with dementia – and to establish a team of ecumenical volunteers (Anna Friends). Recruited and trained by the Anna Chaplain, the Anna Friends will support the Anna Chaplain in the expansion of the chaplaincy in breadth and depth, and, crucially, will make a major contribution towards ensuring sustainability beyond the five years of the grant. The Anna Chaplaincy will begin in the areas local to the two churches but will expand across St. Albans where there are 10 care homes and numerous sheltered and independent living locations.
Children and Families Worker
Working in partnership with the presbyters, a management committee and lay volunteers, the part time Children and Families Worker will have responsibility for creating and strengthening relationships with local children, young people and their families. The CFW will encourage them to start and continue a journey into faith. He or she will help them find ways of expressing that faith through appropriate activities, worship and being part of the church family either in the conventional understanding of what this means or as a Fresh Expression of Church.
Both projects are subject to our raising money from our two congregations and from other sympathetic funders. We hope the projects can both start in the Spring of 2020.
Building Development Projects
In recent years, the Property & Finance Committee (PFC) has embarked on a programme of work to modernise the interior of the church. This has included new toilets and kitchen, refurbishment of the Epworth Room (office), and complete refurbishment of the Large Hall (floor, lighting, decoration and storage). In 2020, the Wesley Room will get new windows and full redecoration.
In 2017, a Property Review and Oversight of Development (PROD) Group was set up by the Church Council with the task of holding together and subsequently making recommendations on a wider variety of building proposals, distilled from various sources including an Away Weekend, the book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, and walk-arounds by sub-groups set up by the PFC. Messages from earlier consultations included the need to:
- increase opportunities through more versatile and attractive spaces
- improve internal and external visibility
- improve the flow of people within the building
- ensure that existing uses were maintained.
Work currently under consideration by PROD includes:
- Small Hall – refurbishment, with improved access at each end, and possible local WC/kitchen.
- Main Entrance and Foyer – remodel to provide better internal space and increased visual impact from the outside
- Car Park – improve the layout
- Main church area – new heating, new carpet, decoration and a fitted sanctuary (without a gap at the rear).