Updating St Edwards

Retaining Beauty,

Serving Community

 

- Adapting Stow’s Ancient Parish Church

for the Future.

 

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented challenges and opportunities

for those who look to St Edward’s as their spiritual home.

We have had limited access to our building and our ability to hold

services will remain challenged by the need for social-distancing

for some time to come.

It will be a while yet before we can hold weddings and community funerals

on the scale that we have long been used to.

 

We have also discovered new things in our exile.

We can still gather as a community on-line and our worship

has been enriched by the quality music and dramatisations

that we have been able to source and screen.

Seeing each other on Zoom has helped us to put names to faces

and we have met new people and connected with new friends

from the other parishes of our Benefice through the break-out rooms.

 

As our Annual Parochial Church Meeting approaches,

the time has now come to consider various aspects of our post-Covid future.

As in many other walks of life, the pandemic has focussed our thinking

on what we need to do to utilise our new learning

and to move confidently into the future.

 

This seems an ideal time to revisit and take forward

our long-standing plans to update the interior of St Edward’s.

 

The Challenge

 

* to deliver a flexible,connected,

but still beautiful space for the post-Covid world

 

* to ensure that Stow’s largest indoor facility

gives real benefit to the community

 

* to offer a welcoming and enjoyable experience

for visitors to the Cotswolds from around the world

 

* to pass on this precious gift from our rich past,

revitalized and renewed for the future

 

Our building needs to work better:

 

* to accommodate all styles of worship and to enable

the congregation and community to enjoy

the film and video presentations that have become part of our lives on-line.

 

* to provide a space that can meets the

various needs of local community partners and groups.

 

* to offer an even better and more informative experience

for our large number of visitors.

 

 

What we want to achieve

 

The updated St Edward’s will:

 

* retain the present feel of our historic Church

 

*  enhance the building’s ability

to serve all the people of Stow

 

*  be a welcoming space that draws people in

and connects them with local faith and history

 

*  offer space better suited to Worship,

post-Covid Distancing and Connectivity

 

*  offer accessible and flexible space for community events -

especially for needs that cannot be met by other venues in Stow

 

*  have improved facilities for children and young people

 

 

The First Step

 

To improve connectivity, the most urgent needs are to

* Install an audio-visual system

including a projector screen hidden to the rear of the rood beam.

* Enhance broadband connectivity.

 

Our first priority is to secure a faculty to allow us to make the improvements to our Audio-Visual equipment.  We are then hoping to be able to discuss all other possible plans with the Diocesan Advisory Committee who have indicated a willingness to come and visit us in the early Summer.  Thereafter we shall take account of their advice in deciding the precise scope and timing of any subsequent phases of our plans. At each stage the Chancellor for the Diocese of Gloucester will set a period for formal public consultation on the proposed works.

 

Medium Term

 

* Transforming the rear and North Aisle of St Edwards into a flexible space that can be used for visitor information display boards, group meetings, school and children’s activities, after-church refreshment or just left open for people to enjoy the building from more perspectives.

* making the church warmer, more welcoming and more accessible by insulating the South entrance porch with automatic glass doors

 

Longer Term Possibilities

* some remodelling at the front of the church to create a raised dais for services, concerts and other events.

* finding a long-term solution to our musical needs as our ageing church organ becomes increasingly unreliable.