We were delighted by the press coverage we got from our local newspaper after our recent Dedication Festival and celebration to mark that the council has now completed restoration work to the graveyard retaining walls. The only unfortunate side to it, was that the front page had the headline “Restoration of town’s church is completed.” The journalists weren’t to know this, as we hadn’t told them, but this is very far from the case! We are now however entering into the final phase of our Restoration and Renewal project.
This phase entails creating a adaptable space at the back of the church with basic kitchen facilities and flexible seating. There is also a great need for toilet facilities (these will be disabled accessible) which means raising the ringing room floor in the tower to create space for a large cubicle. A consequence of creating a new ringing room will mean that it should be much easier to ring our bells. We have eight bells, two of pre-Reformation date, one of 18th century and five were added in 1952, as a memorial to the men of Hemsworth who gave their lives in World War II.
At the end of May we were delighted to announce the promise of a grant of £25,000 from the Fellowship of St John, a foundation which continues the excellent work of the Cowley Fathers. This is indeed fantastic news and has meant that we could commission our architects to produce drawings of sufficient standard that we can use them to petition for a faculty (permission to complete the works) and so that we can put the work out to tender. Only once we have received the tenders back will we know for certain how much more fundraising we will still need to do.
Why do we need to do all this work anyway? For historical reasons S Helen’s Church Community owns no other facilities which it can use for outreach and work in the local community. By improving the church building itself and making it more fit for purpose we would hope to:
a) have better facilities for opportunities to share our faith and to grow in Christian discipleship.
b) be better resourced for welcoming newcomers to church and particularly help young families and the elderly feel more comfortable attending various activities in their
c) enhance the facilities to the many school groups which use our church building.
d) be better equipped to reach out to those on the margins of our Society.
For over a thousand years the people of Hemsworth have been using this building at times of celebration and times of sorrow, through feast and famine, through war and peace, please support us in ensuring it continues to serve the people of our community into the next generation and beyond.