A local vicar is asking his congregation to dig deep for a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to bring about significant improvements at their historic Ribble Valley church.
Canon Rodney Nicholson is reminding his parishioners at Christ Church Chatburn that their landmark church – the first to be opened during the reign of Queen Victoria – needs the modern facilities of a toilet and kitchen to make the 175 year-old-building more user-friendly for today’s growing needs.
Canon Nicholson pointed out that with large congregations – especially for christenings, weddings and funerals, and the very popular concerts and other social and community activities hosted at the church – these amenities really are a must.
The scheme also includes better facilities for disabled people and a small vestry and meeting room in the space to be made available by the removal of the redundant pipe organ.
A scheme prepared by Ivan Wilson, the diocesan and church’s architect, estimates that the project will cost £74,000, including VAT and fees, of which the church currently has £11,000.
Canon Nicholson pointed out that the church’s events’ organiser, Clive Greenwood, is working hard to apply for grants, but warned that the church is under no illusion about the difficulty of securing such help in today’s economic climate.
“We must find at least £30,000 ourselves,” said Canon Nicholson. “Some money will come from fund-raising, but much will have to be given directly, enhanced where possible by gift aid.”
Canon Nicholson very much hopes that the project can be completed – or nearly completed – by the time of his anticipated retirement in September.
The appeal brochure invites people to make four-figure and three-figure donations where possible, as well as smaller amounts, for what Canon Nicholson calls “the most significant project in the church’s 175-year history”.