‘Wholly and Holy modern’ church transformation in Feltwell
A historic church has taken inspiration from its medieval roots with plans for a thoroughly modern project.
St Mary's Church in Feltwell hopes to increase usage with a radical refurbishment which could open up the building to a variety of groups from far and wide.
The Aisle Project will transform the church's north aisle into a permanent community resource with a modern two-storey hub built within the church's existing walls.
This would be freestanding, made of pale oak, and would include toilets, a kitchen and a heated function space downstairs and museum space upstairs.
Rector Joan Horan said: 'The modern image of a church has to move with the times and during a time of austerity we can show the way forward in creating novel new facilities and shared spaces that benefit all of the community.
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'It's the result of a long period of consultation with local people and co-ordination with the Diocese of Ely, and the end result will be spectacular, with users ranging from local bands to cinema, farmer's markets to museums and everything between within the confines of an existing church structure.
'Back in medieval times churches were hubs where villagers gathered for church ales and other community, social and commercial activities as well as primarily being sacred spaces where God was worshipped each day. In some ways we are returning to our roots, but with a structure and approach that is both wholly and Holy modern.'
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The project is expected to cost in the region of �300,000 but fundraising is already under way by the Friends of St Mary's, with plans to complete the build in three to five years.
Sue Garland, chairman of the Aisle Building Committee, said: 'We want to offer something to look forward so when we're dead and gone there's something to pass on to the next generation – not a building that's fallen down.'
St Mary's Church dates back to the 12th century and features French stained glass windows, important Tudor pews and a fine example of a Hammer Beam Angel Roof. The north aisle was added in 1837.
Anyone interested in using the space should email church warden Chris Parker at email@example.com