A People of pilgrimage, a place of hospitality. We are making the biggest change to St Philip and St James’ Church since it was first built in 1882. We are creating a welcoming, versatile range of gathering spaces which will enable creativity in our worship, hospitality towards our local community and will launch a dynamic new venue for the Bath Road area and beyond.
The new Pip and Jim’s will be open and busy seven days a week. As an exciting new public space it will host exhibitions, large scale gatherings, Church services and community meetings as well as arts and political events. These activities will appeal to differing age groups, will enrich the life of our local community and offer a range of creative and thought provoking opportunities for people to wonder, reflect, pray and connect with a worshipping community committed to faith, hope and love.
Our reordered church will have improved disabled access and a dynamic new West End entrance, spilling out into an attractive shared green space combining car and bike parking, with space for people to gather, relax and socialise. Inside the Church there will be a beautiful open space framed by arches and pillars which will send eyes eastwards towards our High Altar and upwards to our barrel vaulted ceiling. A new wooden floor with underfloor heating and inlay patterning will invite visitors into this warm, vaulting, spacious venue. In the north aisle a new kitchen will be a hub for hospitality and in the south aisle the church office will provide information, management of the space and a contact point for visitors.
Above these, glass walled break-out spaces will be available for hire by small groups. These will be accessed by sweeping open staircases. In the south east corner our glazed memorial chapel will provide a dedicated quiet space for prayer, reflection and midweek services. Cleared of pews, the open simplicity of the nave will accentuate our fine chancel screen, choir stalls, high altar and reredos. The overall effect will be to open up and enhance the appreciation of our rich Victorian interior through the provision of a versatile open plan space. Behind the scenes, lighting, audio-visuals, new toilets, increased storage and digital infrastructure will provide facilities in keeping with a hospitable venue fitted for the 21st century.
In terms of the wider community, this will be a major new venue. We already have a proven track record of holding major events such as hustings meetings attended by over 300 people. With new toilets, a kitchen, flexible seating and improved disabled access such opportunities will grow. We will be able to host choir and classical rehearsals and concerts, Festival events, community lunches, holiday clubs and major celebrations for our local schools. Upstairs in the pods smaller committee sized groups will be able to hire space by the hour. On any given day multiple community groups and events could take place under the one roof.
At the heart of this vision remains the worshipping communities, notably our Sunday congregations. The provision of attractive, ergonomic, stackable chairs, a moveable dais and new altar and lectern will enable a range of worship layouts. These will include a gentle eastward facing arc of chairs, worshipping in the round with a central altar or wide central aisle with chairs facing inward in a ‘choir’ format. Through experimentation and creative use of these new possibilities we will be able journey through the church year towards Christmas and Easter as pilgrims prepared to be moved by our encounter with the living God. We will also be able to continue to enjoy more formal arrangements which celebrate the rich visual resources of our chancel and sanctuary and to host festive, choral celebrations.
After the changes to Gloucester cathedral, this reordering is the largest of its kind in the diocese. This is a ‘legacy project’ which will reshape this thriving church and enrich our vibrant local community for generations to come. For over sixteen years we, as a congregation, have dreamt of creating a more flexible space, in service of our local community. This plan delivers on that dream.
The total cost of the project will be £3 million. It will be funded through a number of sources. We hope to realise around £1.5m from the sale of Church House which was bought and maintained by our predecessors. We are applying to a range of grant making bodies. We will also invite members of our congregation the chance to make a significant gift which will enable us to create an exciting and creative ‘place of hospitality for a people of pilgrimage’.
This reordering will create a lasting legacy for our local community, our children and their children. This project will deliver an exciting space in which we can be moved in our worship and those who visit can be intrigued and engaged by a vivid and creative presentation of faith in the God revealed in Jesus Christ. A God who calls us into relationship with him, to follow him and to be salt and light to a world in need of his love.
Please take a look at the section entitled ‘our plans’ to see the final project plans and to read the full judgement please click on this link: Faculty Judgement
We publish regular updates through Pilgrims’ Progress. The latest edition can be found by clicking here.
We have over 90% of our funding in place, however, our appeal is still open for donations and you can make your donation by click on this link. Donate Now
If you want to discuss donating for a particular item or to find out about sponsoring a stone in our new limestone floor, please contact Hannah in our office: Email Office
Most of the costs of this project have been met by the Church and its congregation. We also acknowledge, with thanks, grants pledged by the following trusts:
A Reordering Board is steering the project. This is chaired by David Mace and includes our Team Rector, Nick Davies, and church members with a variety of relevant interests and expertise. Please visit our ‘who’s involved’ page to find out more about the Board and the range of professionals supporting our project which will meet the future needs and hopes of our community.