How did we get to June so quickly?
But why has the good weather taken such a long time in coming? And why do some days feels as though we are experiencing all four seasons within just four hours? Finally the leaves are filling out on the trees. Especially on the avenue of trees leading from Ringinglow Road to the church building. The extensive pruning and re-shaping of the autumn is looking amazing. Both the major pathways to the church now feel much clearer and airier – and the church can be seen more clearly from both Ringinglow Road and Ecclesall Road South. There is more to be done. But so far so good.
With the works to the transept roof now completed, the Estate Committee are now looking at the tired roofs of the north and south porches as well as the leaking stone guttering on the roof on the nave. We are at the beginning of the process of drawing up the specification, before going out to tender and applying for a faculty. When these works are completed over the next year, the church building will be fully watertight and we will then be able to redecorate. Here I am immensely grateful to Dave Howarth for giving so generously of his time to work with Rachel McLafferty, our new operations manager.
In the meantime we are not standing still. Again with Dave Howarth leading the way, this July the lighting system in church will be renewed and upgraded. While following the advice of the Diocesan Sound Adviser and with the full agreement and support of the Sound Desk team, Estate Committee and the PCC, Alistair Stevenson is continuing to work with Wigwam Sound Engineers to finalise the specification for the upgraded sound system.
Aided by David Quinney, we have been in contact with Hayes and Finch, the much respected manufacturers of church furniture from Liverpool. They supplied all the upholstered oak chairs that were part of the 1998 re-ordering. The chairs have worked very hard for the past 20 years, and some of them are beginning to show their age. Hayes and Finch have agreed to audit the condition of all the chairs and to propose an outline plan for them to be refurbished and re-upholstered over the next few years. The Estate Committee will then decide on how we proceed.
At our May PCC meeting we continued our discussions about the possible extension to the church building. We are increasingly clear that we need the extension to the church, and that some sort of link building between the church and the halls is not feasible. This means that we need to get clearer about the purpose of the halls. To help us with our decision-making we are applying for a £10,000 grant to fund an in depth community consultation to ask the wider community about their views. In the meantime we will also continue work clarifying what the possible extension might need to include. Watch this space for further news and for opportunities to get involved.
Two Successful Grant Applications
I am very pleased to report that we have very recently made two successful applications for grants. The first was to the Sheffield Church Burgesses to enable us to increase the hours of our very successful Children’s Chaplain post. Wonderfully the Burgesses have agreed to make a grant for £5,000. This will enable the PCC to increase the hours from 24 to 32 a week from the 1 August 2017. The additional hours are funded for a year, after which I will be eager to make them permanent. This is a very significant increase and some six months ahead of the February 2018 review date set when the post was created. I am delighted!
The second grant application was to Sheffield Town Trust. So our congratulations go to Rachel McLafferty for the award of a grant of £700 which will meet 50% of the cost of repairs to the Halls car parks. Work on the car parks should start very soon.
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome.
On Sunday 11th June we will be launching the new look All Saints website. Our old website has served us really well; but technology and website design have moved on apace; not least with the need for websites to be mobile-friendly. Here our huge thanks go to Rod Ismay, Dan Moyes and to Kim Mason for all their hard work over many months. The new site is looking absolutely fantastic and nearly ready to be launched. Experience tells me that we will need to work on it for some months to come.
Alongside the website we will be launching the new welcome pack. Again our many thanks go to Dan Moyes and Kim Mason for all their work on this key part of the re-branding project. Here I would like to pay tribute to Pam Ackroyd whose report to the PCC on Welcoming has inspired and informed much of our strengthened approach to welcoming ministry.
Part of the rebranding and strengthening our welcome has involved rebranding and repurposing the ‘Narthex’ as the ‘Welcome Area’. Over the coming months we plan to declutter the walls and surfaces and to include new ‘Who’s Who’ board and a new moveable ‘Welcome’ board. Our huge thanks go to Helen Miszczak for her artwork. Sponsored by an anonymous donor a new high level Welcome Table will be arriving shortly. It should give a real focus for newcomers.