Reydon church revamp starts

PUBLISHED: 07:02 08 August 2014

St Margaret's Church, Reydon is undergoing changes to the interior of the building. The 
Rev Richard Henderson is pictured in the chancel.

St Margaret's Church, Reydon is undergoing changes to the interior of the building. The Rev Richard Henderson is pictured in the chancel.

A £180,000 scheme to revitalise the interior of St Margaret’s Church in Reydon has got under way.

The works have been several years in the planning and will see the interior of the 14th century building rearranged to make the space more flexible and accessible.

The choir pews have already been removed from the chancel to be made into two smaller priest stalls.

The church’s 130-year-old organ will also be removed this month to be replaced with a smaller Copeman Hart organ, which will be located in the nave.

Other plans include taking out five pews from the front and rear of the nave to create more space, putting two of the pews in the porch, levelling the floor in the nave and replacing the chancel floor, removing the priest stall, installing under-pew heating in the nave and a new heating system in the floor of the chancel and putting in a new altar rail and lectern.

New lighting will be installed, the sound system will be improved and there will be plaster repairs and redecoration throughout.

The additional space in the chancel will create a chapel for smaller services and 25 new chairs have been bought for the area. The work will mean the church will not be in use from September 8 until the end of November with services being held in the church room at the rear of the building and the feast all-age worship taking place in Reydon Village Hall.

Funerals and memorial services will be held at one of the other churches in the Sole Bay Team.

The church should be open in time for Christmas with plans being made for a celebration weekend in early February.

The vicar of Reydon, the Rev Richard Henderson, said: “This is a growing church and we are a church that strives to serve the community locally and offer a variety of ways for people to explore and grow in the Christian faith. We also use the building as a tool for mission locally.

“We want a building that helps meet that need.

“We are looking for flexible space that can be used in all sorts of creative ways with worship at the heart of what we do.”

Mr Henderson said the church had been talking about doing the work since before he arrived in Reydon five years ago and it was only possible to start it now because of two legacies that had been left to St Margaret’s.

During the last five years, the parochial church council has worked with the architect Brian Haward from Southwold and the diocesan advisory committee to come up with the best scheme for the church.

The congregation has been consulted about the proposals and most have given their full support to the project.

The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, English Heritage and other bodies are also backing the plans.

Mr Henderson said that some people had reservations about removing the pipe organ, which is being transferred to another church in one piece.

But he said that it was necessary to remove the large instrument to open up the chancel.

He said reordering the chancel would enable a better use of the space for the regular Sunday services and enable a better flow of people to and from the altar for the eucharist.

He said the changes would allow smaller groups or services to take place there and the new seating would allow a group to gather in the round or facing east, which was not possible at present.

“We want the chancel to become a sacred space unaffected by the organ and choir stalls, almost a chapel within the church for smaller services,” he said. “We had a wedding there on Saturday and with the choir pews gone we had space for different musicians and the bridesmaids were sat in the chancel.”

He added that removing the pews at the front of the nave meant people in wheelchairs could attend services without having to sit in the aisle and there would be more space to manoeuvre coffins at funerals.

Mr Henderson said the changes would make the building more fit for 21st century worship.

“This is the next phase of making the building the best it can be,” he said. “The church over the centuries has adapted and changed to bring it up to date.

“We are now making it work for the community it serves today and in to the future.

“We want it to be warm and welcoming and spacious.”

The main contractor for the work will be Cooper and Denny from Reydon, who will work alongside local subcontractors.

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