Swaffham church seeks local artist for contemporary mural

The Methodist Church in Swaffham is undergoing a regeneration project called the Pinnacle Appeal. Pi

The Methodist Church in Swaffham is undergoing a regeneration project called the Pinnacle Appeal. Pictured are (from left) Sarah Rodgers, Vera Dye, Geraldine Allen, Anne Thorp, Barrie Thorp, Jo Trick and Rev. Eleanor Reddington. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Swaffham Methodist Church has been busy over the past few months: preparing for a roof repair, hosting a 'hymnathon' in March to raise money and now redesigning the interior of the 200-year-old Georgian chapel.

It's all part of a 2017-2018 regeneration project called the 'Pinnacle Appeal' that will position the church as a modern, contemporary space for the community to congregate.

One of the biggest goals of the project is to create a mural to replace the bare, pink walls of the east side of the building. Swaffham Methodist Church is currently seeking a local artist to design the mural, which will incorporate themes of spirituality and local history of East Anglia.

'It's a lovely thing to do with a blank wall: have a mural that reflects faith, our community and the Swaffham and Norfolk area,' Sarah Rodgers, a musician at the church who is helping to coordinate the regeneration project, said.

'We want this to be a wonderful, open, flexible space for the church and the community. We are also trying to make it more high-tech.'

The communion area and front of the church will be moved to the north wall and the pews and pulpit will be repositioned. Church services will continue during the roof repair (due to be completed next July) but will be limited and rescheduled during the interior redesign in late 2017 and 2018.

Ms Rodgers said she hopes the regeneration project will help a wider audience connect to the church.

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'The church has to move with the times. Swaffham is a growing town and our church is on the main street, past the Market Place, right as people come into town. We want it to be an open and inviting fixture in the area. It's about expressing faith in a 21st century way and developing the church so that it means many things to many different people,' she said.

Though the church is looking towards the future, there's important history to be remembered. In 1790 during a visit to Swaffham, John Wesley wrote in his journal: 'A congregation was ready here, that filled the house, and seemed quite willing to take instruction.'

For all artists interested in the mural project, write to the Senior Steward, Mr Barrie Thorp, at 10 Greenhoe Place, Swaffham PE37 7EX. Proposals and drawings should be submitted by November 1.

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