St Matthew’s Church

Stretton, Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 4NT
Vicar: Revd Alan Jewell

Church Development

The Big Welcome

Posted 3rd March 2021

Our Big Welcome Project is underway. The pews at the back of church have been removed and a wooden floor laid down. This has given us the space we need for our church to be a welcoming place for the whole community.

The next stage will be to put in a kitchen – a much needed facility as we come back to share our lives together after the separation of recent months. The area will not only be available for church services – Praise and Play, refreshments, coffee mornings and small groups - but also for wider community use. We welcome ideas and suggestions about potential groups or activities. This is a really exciting development in the life of the church which will place it at the heart of our community

Phase 2

Kitchen facility

A low level kitchen facility will be provided in the south west corner of the nave, with all the units below counter level. The kitchen units will enclose the space and will be fronted in the panelling from the front of the pews at the cross aisle, to blend in with the church furnishings.

Further re-ordering

Level access

The main access to the church is through the west door, up two steps.

church door
church steps

The Church wishes to be welcoming to all and needs to improve the access for people of reduced mobility including those using wheelchairs, those with walking impairments, pushchairs, as well as pall bearers.

The existing tarmacadam paths to the south side of the church will be regraded to rise gently to a sandstone platform which will enhance, denote and celebrate the point of entrance to the church.

Whilst conforming with current legislation, the level access more importantly demonstrates that the church is for all, as part of the church’s concern for all members of its parish and congregation.

Foyer under the tower.

A foyer will be created under the tower, by moving the existing screen doors by the west door forward to the east side of the tower (to be in front of the book shelves and cabinet housing the Mothers’ Union banner). This will provide a foyer for greeting people as they enter the church and can also serve as a space for other activities during services, perhaps children’s activities or as a “cry space”. The glazed doors will allow people in the foyer to follow the service.

 A new screen door will be provided just inside the west door, glazed top and bottom, so that the west door can be left open during services – allowing people outside to see into the church.

Either side will be cupboards, one of which will be used to store chairs. A ceiling will be provided over this area, with an access hatch should bells require lowering.

The parish tapestry beside the pulpit will be relocated into the foyer on the north wall, which will give it more prominence, and acknowledge the church as being at the heart of the community. The cabinet for the Mothers’ Union banner will be relocated to the nave, being placed on the north wall between two windows.

Storage space beside the pulpit.

The pews in the north aisle adjacent to the pulpit face inwards (south), and do not have a view of the chancel, being obscured by the pulpit. These are rarely used, and are currently used as a storage area.

The parish tapestry is across an arch to the organ, and muffles the sound of the organ, and will be relocated to under the tower. The DAC’s Organ Adviser has advised that this will improve the acoustics of the organ into the nave.

The church’s stated mission is “Sharing the love of Jesus with all through friendship, prayer and service” and these proposals aim to assist in this.

Stephen Edwards