A New Church For The Parish

IN THIS SECTION YOU WILL FIND DOCUMENTS RELATING TO
OUR NEW CHURCH BUILDING PROJECT:

(1) The Outline Project Brief submitted and accepted to the Diocesan property Commission in August 2017.

(2) A Summary of the Parish Consultation based on comments at the Parish Open Evening on 21 June 2017 and questionnaires completed by parish members.

(3) Timeline for the new church building process (presented at the open parish council meeting on 20 October 2017.

July 2017

 Outline Project Brief for a new Church in the Parish of St. Boniface and St. James, Tiverton

 

Introduction

‘You are the temple of God and God’s Spirit dwells in you’ (1 Corinthians 3:16).

For some years the parishioners of St James have hoped to build a new church.

We see this as our contribution to the ongoing story of the growth of the Catholic community in Mid Devon, beginning with the Manor at Calverleigh in the 18th century, whose chaplain ministered to the tiny local Catholic community in penal times, until the church of St John on Longdrag Hill in Tiverton was blessed and opened in 1839, serving the mission and parish until its closure in 2005. The present church of St James in Old Road was opened in 1969, reordered in 1985, extended in 2009 and re-roofed in 2014. The church of St Boniface in Cullompton was opened in 1929, eventually serving a separate parish until merged with Tiverton in 2014 to become the Parish of St Boniface and St James Mid Devon.

We believe the Parish and its extensive site in Tiverton is worthy of an ambitious, dignified and distinctive piece of new architecture to herald the next phase of continued growth of Catholicism in Mid Devon. This is a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new church of exceptional quality, for the benefit of present and future generations, and for the glory of God.

 

Overarching Statement

The Church is the people, the community: we need a place to meet, to worship, and from which to serve the wider community.  A building gives the church a visible footprint on the ground: people know where to find us. A building is about identity: about the church ‘having a place’ in the local community.  It is the visible sign that the church has put down its roots in this particular place, that we are committed to being God’s people here in Mid Devon.

 

What is the Mission (Overall Project Purpose)?

We take seriously the call to mission of Pope Francis in “Evangelii Gaudium” and, more recently, Bishop Mark’s exhortation to become “Intentional Disciples”. We feel strongly that our Lord calls us, not only to support one another in growing our mutual faith, but to take that faith and knowledge out into the wider society, where there is an ever greater need for His presence. We intend therefore, through our new church building, to put these aspirations into practice: to promote understanding and awareness of our faith and to bring God’s love to those around us.

Project Objectives

The principal manner in which the mission is to be fulfilled is through the provision of religious services and pastoral activities centred through the parish. Parishes are at the heart of supporting a diverse expression of the Catholic faith including: the celebration of the sacraments, in particular the Mass, which is at the heart of everything we do; arising from the power of the Eucharist to change us and transform, we wish to look outward and bring the love of Christ into our wider community through the New Evangelization; in order to share our faith more fully, we wish to promote education in terms of child and adult catechesis; and to engage the community more comprehensively, we wish to develop a platform for the cultural development of religious art and music.

Accordingly, we plan to build a new church (to include associated pastoral space and facilities, in conjunction with a new presbytery for the resident priest). The new building should comprise a local landmark, be fit for purpose, and provide spaces to support worship and congregational life which are relevant for the 21st Century. The building(s) should be an inclusive communicator of the Christian message and its community.

 

Parish Background

St James is a thriving Catholic parish community. We hold regular services of worship in the Catholic tradition, centred on the celebration of the Mass, with a strong commitment to holiness and hospitality, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all ages.

In addition to regular acts of worship, our community is committed to supporting one another in spiritual growth and well-being. Our Primary School, St John’s, is the only Catholic school in the area and we value the opportunity it gives us to contribute to nurturing the faith of children and their families and to spread the Christian message to all pupils, of whom a large percentage are from non-Catholic homes. St. John’s has a reputation as a thriving, caring school which values the contributions of all its members: pupils, teachers, parents, governors and ancillary staff. There is also a successful pre-school feeding into the main school. We have a positive reciprocal relationship between school and parish and are keen to work on increasing ties through oue new-build project.

A team of catechists works with our children and young people, helping to widen their understanding and prepare them for a fuller role in the parish community, especially through preparation for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

Our faith inspires us to look out to the wider community too and this is reflected in a variety of groups and activities:

  • We have an active St Vincent de Paul group, offering practical help and support to lonely and isolated people
  • We support the Churches Housing Action Team, a local charity working with homeless people and those in housing crisis. They also run the local Food Bank
  • We are involved, with other Tiverton churches, in the Make Lunch initiative, which aims to provide free lunches for disadvantaged children and their families during the school summer holidays
  • We have set up a new Evangelisation Group (see below for further details)
  • We hold weekly social events, with tea, cake and scrabble for elderly and isolated people
  • We host weekly “Singing to Remember” sessions, in collaboration with a local charitable trust, for people affected by dementia or memory loss and their carers
  • We support the Apostleship of the Sea, with a group of knitters providing hats for merchant seamen
  • We run a monthly Book Group
  • We have also run prayer and meditation workshops; bible study groups; and joint services for Tiverton Churches Together

Our ambition for the new church is that, in addition to these activities, our new church building will enable us to widen the range of activities we can organise and support. We have started to gather ideas from fellow parishioners on how we can take these plans forward.

See Appendix 1 for comparative statistical information on our parish.

A number of factors have influenced our decision to move forward with our plans for a new building(s), including:

  • The merging of the 2 parishes of St. Boniface, Cullompton and St. James, Tiverton, into one overarching parish covering most of Mid-Devon (Appendix 2)
  • Significant areas of population growth identified in the Mid-Devon Development Plan. See website for more details at this web address: (gov.uk/residents/planning-policy/mid-devon-local-plan) There will be growth in Tiverton, Cullompton, Uffculme and Willand (effectively the M5 corridor), plus one of the proposed Garden Villages within the parish boundary
  • The recent establishment of an Evangelisation Group in the parish, working towards a better understanding of the faith and a commitment to greater engagement with the local community
  • Not least, the poor and deteriorating physical state of the current building (see below)

We have employed various means of consultation within the parish, to raise awareness; to reach as many people as possible and to gather ideas and comments. Methods used included:

  • Introductory newsletter and explanatory leaflet (Appendix 3)
  • Displays in the church hall and invitations to comment
  • Parish meeting with discussion groups and suggestions
  • Involvement of Children’s Liturgy Groups and St John’s School (our Catholic Primary School)

Comments and ideas from the congregation and clergy will be fed into the design brief.

Plans for an alternative site for the celebration of Mass during the project build are currently being pursued locally.

 

Current Church Construction & Limitations

The existing church is not fit for purpose. It was originally designed as a community hall and as such it has a poor liturgical layout, very poor acoustics and is unsuitable for conversion/alteration and expansion.

In recent times the Church has undergone a number of alterations including a new front entrance/disability access and W/C facilities. In 2012 a new roof replacement project was undertaken.

The property condition is fair but its 1960’s pre-cast concrete construction makes future maintenance and alteration difficult to undertake and constitutes poor value for money.

A condition survey was undertaken by Vickery Holman in February 2014. A copy of this extensive document is held by the Diocesan Property Manager.

An updated Parish Assessment of the Church by Deacon Peter Found was completed in April 2017, revealing further deterioration of the concrete structure. (Appendix 4)

 

What does a Successful Project Outcome look like?

A new church building will provide an inspirational and flexible space to support:

  • Active participation by the people in our acts of worship
  • Reflection and contemplation
  • Communal, social and cultural activities to underpin our sense of community
  • Ecumenical activities, furthering our participation in the Tiverton Churches Together group
  • Outreach activities for the wider community

It would also be a building designed to last, incorporating sustainable materials and building methods, and thus reflecting the Church’s wider concern for the environment as expressed in the encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”.

Physically we have an attractive site, with plenty of green space: we would be keen to incorporate this into the overall design, with a memorial/sensory garden for prayer and reflection, as well as room for outdoor parish events, e.g. Parish picnics, summer fete, harvest worship, etc.

What should a new Church provide?

  • A place of worship that uplifts the spirit
  • An environment to facilitate and encourage celebration of the liturgy
  • A visual expression to all aspects of doctrine and spirituality
  • A lasting expression of the Faithful’s community life
  • The opportunity to engage in a collaborative process and ongoing dialogue
  • Sensitivity to the financial realities of the Parish and its budget

Choice of Design & Building Materials Should:

  • Signal to the public realm that it is a place of worship, that it holds sacred space
  • Create a sense of both transcendence and intimacy inside
  • Utilise light in this evocation of the numinous
  • Reflect the values of the Church in the 21st Century – a desire to increase the connection to the public realm and the natural world through appropriate glazing (fenestration)
  • Utilise materials that are of high quality, destined to stand the test of time
  • Take into account future maintenance to give best value within a restricted budget
  • Provide excellent acoustic qualities
  • Provide lighting suitable to the various activities taking place
  • Incorporate good security: in consultation with the local Police Crime Prevention Team
  • Consider care for the environment & sustainability
  • Keep in mind accessibility: for people with disabilities, those using public transport, pedestrians and car users
  • Consider wider parish and community meeting requirements

Early Design & Feasibility work

Preliminary Design & Cost Plan

In November 2015 Mitchell architects were appointed to undertake some preliminary sketch designs and feasibility work (up to RIBA Stage 2) to prompt discussion and provide early thoughts for the new church proposal.(Appendix 5)

Based on these sketch designs Hosken Parks (cost consultants) prepared a budgetary estimate (Appendix 6) for the following 3 options:

  1. New Build Church £1,608 600 (excl. VAT)
  1. Refurbishment and extension of existing Church:£ 1,225 000 (excl. VAT) (Option 1)
  1. Refurbishment and extension of existing Church:£ 1,067,000 (excl. VAT) (Option 2)

The 3 options were discussed by Diocesan Property Commission in January 2015. It was considered that in overall terms the New Build option would provide better value for money over the longer term.

Governance/Ownership

The Diocese (Property Commission) has established Parish Guidelines for Parish Property Projects. There is a 3 stage approval process being:

  • Approval In Principle
  • Approval of outline design, cost and funding proposal (Concept design)
  • Approval of finalised design, costs and funding. (Post tender)

To date the project proposal has been given Approval in Principal and undertaken some indicative feasibility work.

Who is the Client and End User?

As with all Diocesan assets PRCDTR (the legal entity for The Diocese of Plymouth) will continue to be the freehold title owner of the land and any new Church building(s) and other property. PRCDTR will also be the “Client” in terms of the legal/contractual arrangements for the Project.

The Parish will be the “client” and the “end user” with the Curia providing “client representative” services in terms of technical expertise in finance and other construction related activities.

Project Management

The project client team will be: Fr. Paul Rea (Parish Priest), Patrick Bacon (Parishioner), Paula Mardo (Parishioner) Fr. Ralph Candy (Representing Property Commission), James Wilson (Client advisor).

A small Working Party of Parishioners has been established to support Fr. Paul with the ongoing project.

Consultancy services should include: Architect, Cost Consultant (QS), with sub consultancy services for structural engineer, mechanical & electrical services, acoustics, CDM (H&S), highways, ecology and landscape.

 

Project Cost & Funding

It is estimated that the preliminary project cost (at RIBA Stage 2) is in the order of £1.6 million for the Church (new build) plus say £128,000 (8{c5d32d4cd81bb83aa3ebebdf7fd1de5649ac04515d0721852bcb5f3e8bba27ca} of build cost) being £1.728 million.

It is estimated that the cost to progress the project to the end of RIBA Stage 3 (develop design, outline cost plan and submit a planning application) is in the order of £25,600 (being 20{c5d32d4cd81bb83aa3ebebdf7fd1de5649ac04515d0721852bcb5f3e8bba27ca} of the professional fee costs of £128,000).

For RIBA stage 3 work the Parish have requested that the project funding for professional fees is shared with the Curia on a 50/50 basis.

Overall project funds have not been approved by the Parish or Curia. However some preliminary research on possible grants or charitable funding streams has been undertaken by parishioners. It is, however, difficult to progress these until the project is further along.

 

Procurement

It is recommended that there is a “mini competition” to procure the Architect and Cost consultant. At the moment, parishioners would like to do further research before a short list of suitable architects is decided on.

A design brief and letter of invitation to tender can be prepared for the architectural competition.

Some work has been done on elements of a design brief by members of the Parish Working Party in preparation for this part of the process.

As the design progresses to the end of RIBA Stage 4 (technical design) a formal tender process will be undertaken to select a build contractor.

 

Programme

There is currently no programme. The appointed architect will be requested to provide an indicative programme as part of their Services.

Risk Management

The following principal risks have been identified at this early stage (RIBA stage 2) of the project:

Budget: High Risk as project cost certainty is low. Risk to be managed and mitigated by good project management and appointment of cost consultant.

Funding: High Risk as the funders have yet to be identified and funding agreed. Risk to be managed and mitigated by Property Commission governance and Parish securing funding package.

Project Management: Medium Risk as the Client side team has only been identified. Risk to be managed and mitigated via the formal appointment project client team and the professional consultancy advice.

H&S: Medium Risk as Asbestos materials are present within the Church building. Risk is being managed and mitigated as an Asbestos survey and Management Plan has been undertaken and cost of removal can be sought.

Reputational: Low risk as the Parish is managing local community engagement via parishioners. Project should be a “good news” item.

Appendices

  1. Comparative statistical data for the parish
  2. Map showing extent of present parish
  3. Introductory leaflet produced for parishioners
  4. Updated parish condition survey, undertaken in April 2017
  5. Feasibility Study: Design Drawings by Mitchell’s Architects (Nov. 2015)
  6. Opportunities and Constraints: paper by Fr. Ralph Candy (Nov 2016)

 

 

 

Appendix 1: Comparative statistical data


Appendix 2: map showing parish boundary

 


 

Appendix 3: Text of Introductory leaflet for parishioners

Building a new church for our parish

A responsibility and an opportunity.

After representations from the Parish, Bishop Mark has agreed that we need a new church in Tiverton.  We will be building not just for ourselves, but for future generations, so it is important that we plan carefully, involving the whole parish in our preparations.

Almighty Father, our Creator, may your will be done in us for the Glory of your name.  May your Kingdom come here in this Mid Devon Parish of St Boniface, St James, and St John’s school. 

 

Grant us the courage, and strength and resources to build a place to worship you safely in Tiverton, and to share with others for the common good, enabling those in need to rest and pray. 

 

May Jesus, our Light, infuse us with his Word and help us, guided by his love for the poor, to build up your people here, who respond to your call to “go out and teach all nations”. 

So what’s wrong with the current church?

Heroic efforts have been made over recent years to keep the current building usable.  Unfortunately, the original materials used to build the church are now in a poor state.  Structural faults are starting to appear in the building.  While it is not in danger of imminent collapse, most building professionals agree that repair is no longer a sensible or economic option.

So were past repairs a waste of money?

No: they enabled us to keep using the church while the Diocese considered options. Some of the materials used for recent renovation, e.g. in the new roof, can be reclaimed and recycled, so this was definitely not a waste.

Won’t it cost a lot? HOW CAN WE AFFORD THIS?

We won’t be alone in this.  Bishop Mark and the Curia have given their approval and there will be financial support.  However, we will be expected to contribute to the costs; just how much we don’t yet know and it will be open to negotiation.

  • This is a long-term project lasting a number of years
  • The Diocese will help
  • There are a number of Charitable Foundations we can approach for help once building gets under way

So what’s wrong with the current church?

Heroic efforts have been made over recent years to keep the current building usable.  Unfortunately, the original materials used to build the church are now in a poor state.  Structural faults are starting to appear in the building.  While it is not in danger of imminent collapse, most building professionals agree that repair is no longer a sensible or economic option.

So were past repairs a waste of money?

No: they enabled us to keep using the church while the Diocese considered options. Some of the materials used for recent renovation, e.g. in the new roof, can be reclaimed and recycled, so this was definitely not a waste.

Won’t it cost a lot? HOW CAN WE AFFORD THIS?

We won’t be alone in this.  Bishop Mark and the Curia have given their approval and there will be financial support.  However, we will be expected to contribute to the costs; just how much we don’t yet know and it will be open to negotiation.

  • This is a long-term project lasting a number of years
  • The Diocese will help
  • There are a number of Charitable Foundations we can approach for help once building gets under way

 

What happens next?

Members of the Parish Council are working on a detailed plan to take to the Diocesan authorities.  We need input from everyone in the Parish to make sure we get a building which meets the requirements for all aspects of a modern church.  The church isn’t just bricks and mortar, but a space for us to live out our faith and respond to the wider community.  We will need a space flexible enough for community and social activities as well as worship; one which enables us to respond to the call of Pope Francis for a “missionary dynamism” in our lives (see The Joy of the Gospel).  We hope to provide a welcoming and an inspirational space for all.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be holding a variety of events to inform parishioners and to invite comments and ideas.  We will use those ideas to build up our final plan.  Information will be included regularly in the Parish Newsletter: please read it.

What do I do now?

  • Pray – that God will bless our work and the Holy Spirit will guide our preparations and plans
  • Think – about what you want to see in a new church building which fulfils Pope Francis’s vision for a regenerated Church
  • Take part – join in discussions; attend meetings; give us your ideas
  • Ask questions – the more questions we address at an early stage, the better our planning will be
  • Think – about ways in which we can raise funds and how you can help
  • Read the Parish Newsletter for more information in coming weeks

May the Holy Spirit empower us once more, and guide us in everything we do, protecting us from all evil, and blessing us with peace and understanding, in the building of your Kingdom for all those already here, and all those yet to come.  Lord in your Mercy. Hear our prayer.

Appendix 4: Updated condition survey, April 2017

REVIEW OF ST JAMES ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILDING – APRIL  2017

This document updates a review of the St James Parish buildings carried out in 2014/2015/2016.  The Diocesan has now decided to build a new Church at St James.

CHURCH BUILDING EXTERNALLY – A VISUAL INSPECTION

The Grid Reference is now changed to match the Clarkbond Survey of October 2015.

OLD ROAD ELEVATION – from Presbytery to the Car Park

 

Bay 8– Severe spalling to concrete.  An uplifted Foundation Pad showing.

Bay 7 – Very Severe spalling window surrounds.  Panel Cracking. Uplifted Foundation Pad.

Bay 6 – Very Severe spalling window surrounds.

Bay 5 – Very Severe spalling to concrete window surrounds.

Bay 4 – Very severe spalling to concrete window surrounds.

Bay 3 – Very Severe spalling to concrete window surrounds.  Block work joints cracked.

Bay 2 – Very Severe spalling to concrete window surrounds. Panel Cracking.

Bay 1 – Satisfactory

GREAT WESTERN WAY ELEVATION – from Presbytery to the Car Park

Bays 9 – OK.  Some blockwork pointing

Bay 10 – OK

Bay 11 – Medium Spalling to concrete window surrounds.

Bay 12 – Medium Spalling to concrete window surrounds.

Bay 13 – OK

Bay 14 – Severe Spalling to concrete window surrounds.  Bottom Panel render cracked.

Bay 15 – Cracking appeared

Bay 16 – Short Term Recent Repairs undertaken.  Bottom Panel render cracked.

Degradation increased over Winter Period on both elevations.

CHURCH BUILDING INTERNALLY – VISUALLY

  1. The Sacristy windows have been boarded on Health and Safety Grounds.
  2. Condition of the p.c.c purlins at known previous water ingress points is not known.
  3. There is a new split in the floor level in the Hall. Currently not hazardous.
  4. The centre Precast beam in the Hall – No further visible degradation at bolt hole.
  5. A separate Water Supply, and Sewerage Connection will be required to Presbytery.
  6. Cracking in Entrance lobby due to shrinkage.

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summary of Parish Consultation

Taken from comments at the parish open evening on 21 June and the 37 completed questionnaires from July/August period.

Please note: this is to give a flavour of opinions and ideas put forward, nothing is decided yet.

Church Siting and Appearance:

  • Good support for open and welcoming aspect
  • Plenty of glass and visibility from outside
  • Need for better signage, both to and at the church entrance
  • People are keen on use of local materials where possible
  • Let’s incorporate technology and design/materials for green build
  • Balance environmental concerns with cost: initial outlay may give cheaper maintenance costs in future
  • Adequate parking is important but don’t let it dominate the space
  • Quiet space for remembrance and reflection
  • Space for outdoor social events and services

Church Layout:

  • Horseshoe or similar layout around altar
  • Reflect intimacy and sense of community in our worship
  • Light and airy and inviting atmophere to appeal to young people
  • Flexible design: incorporate smaller space for week-day Mass as well as larger congregations
  • Seating possibly mix of pews and chairs for flexibility
  • Balance flexibility with cost
  • Space for quiet prayer and reflection focussed around Our Lady’s statue

Welcoming Everyone:

  • Good access, parking, toilets
  • Storage for walking aids, buggies, etc.
  • Good acoustics plus hearing loop, A/V aids
  • Integrate everyone into the central body of the church: an inclusive community

Outreach:

  • Several suggestions for involving children and young people – events, social groups and activities
  • Keen to reach out to wider community: keep existing groups but look at more
  • Include homeless, lonely and isolated, carers and young carers
  • Will need good kitchen, cooking and storage facilities, as well as generous meeting space
  • Acknowledged importance of churches talking and working together, including liturgy, concerts and other performance
  • At least 20 groups and agencies were suggested for future consultation and partnership

NB All this will need lots of commitment and volunteers: so far 5 people have answered the call for further involvement. We have a long way to go.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Timeline for new church building process

Spring/Summer 2017: Preparation and completion of Project Brief

June/July 2017: Working Party meeting with Fr. Ralph Candy of Diocesan Property Commission. Parish briefing and consultation process to give “ownership”.

August 2017: Formal submission of Project Brief to Curia. Support enthusiastically given for building project to progress.

September 2017: Property Commission approaches shortlist of Architects for Expressions of Interest.

October 2017: 5 Architects invited to give written submission/presentations. Property Manager prepares Architect’s Information Pack to support process.

November 24, 2017:  Architects’ presentations and interviews. Panel will include Fr. Paul and Patrick Bacon and Paula Mardo as lay members of the Working Party. There will be an opportunity for other parishioners to attend as observers.

Early December 2017: Appointment of Architects.

New Year 2018:

Planning Applications

Detailed Design Work with architects

Appointment of Builders

Decision on alternative Mass site during construction period

Fund-raising starts in earnest, including applications for grants, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 5: design drawings by Mitchells

 

Appendix 6:

OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS

  • SACRED SPACE:

–     Arranging spaces to support worship and congregational life.

–     An inclusive communicator of the Christian message and the community.

–     The building(s) should have a distinctive and innovative character.

–     The Church should comprise a landmark in the local community and inclusive of all people to cultivate their faith throughout the week.

  • ENGAGING THE COMMUNTY :

–     What is the role of the Catholic Church in the community today?

–     Successful community engagement goes beyond the mere use of church buildings.

–     A platform for the cultural development of arts and music in the local community?

–     A community centre?

  • TRANSCENDENCE AND INTIMACY:

–     Church architecture can create a sense of awe and wonder, evoking the mystery of life.

–     It also supports reverence and deep reflection.

–     Light plays an important role in this evocation of the numinous, and is to be carefully considered in the creation of sacred spaces.

  • SUSTAINABILITY

–     Designing in a manner which reflects the Church’s role of faithful stewardship.

–     Transcendence of the corporeal does not preclude the need to address minimisation of waste (of materials, energy, water, etc.) and maximisation of resources (buildings and other facilities) as we seek to leave reliance on fossil-fuels behind and maximise self-reliance in the 21st Century.

  • ENVISIONING OUR FUTURE

–     The discussion of a vision for the future in an ‘open-ended’ and aspirational way with those who might attend the consultation forums.

–     Envisioning the future ranges from the personal to the public; the sacred to the secular.

DESIGN

CHURCH AND ITS CONTEXT

Increase connection to nature and community context

There is a desire to increase connection to the public realm and the natural world. Consider in the design the ability to see out, to link the interior with the natural world or the community in which the church is located. Also in tandem consider the ability of the public to see in to increase the connection to community and make it more inviting for one to enter.

The design needs to consider the degree and type or nature of glazing to increase the sense of connection between exterior and interior.

Careful attention to the theological and liturgical rationale for this should inform the design keeping in mind the balance of sacred space(s) inside and outside.

CHURCH AND HALL

Look at U shaped, T shaped, L shaped and parallel seating arrangements

There is a strong emphasis on the importance of people’s proximity to the sanctuary and the priest to increase the sense of participation and togetherness. Avoid long naves and look at seating arrangements which allow the community to feel they are celebrating mass together.

Discussion about the liturgical implications of these changes should be encouraged to enable a richer understanding of the change, rather than it appears as a design driven or personal change.

Siting implications of a ‘more square’ footprint need to be understood and taken to advantage if possible.

Consideration of sensory, artistic and aesthetic dimensions as well as the functional to be part of every brief

The church needs to signal to the public realm that it is a place of worship, that it holds sacred space.

The exact nature of this ‘signal’ will be different in each instance but could involve lighting, views of the interior, window discussions and the character of the overall building.

The importance of the community feeling the sacred, and evoking the numinous to the interior must be part of briefing and design discussion.

Consideration of choir placement parish by parish

Parish specific discussions about the nature of their choir and church music. There may be provision required for organs, bands, guitar music.

The choir may be within the congregation, may wish to sing opposite each other or to one side of the sanctuary. Consider choir placement in conjunction with spatial arrangement of seating as noted above.

Acoustic advice is essential for successful completion of new projects.

Consideration of the relationship between the hall and the church and its location on the site

There is a range of options for the parish as to a hall and its relationship to the church:

a) a loosely connected hall and church with a common foyer, common narthex or cloister connection forming a sacred community cluster of buildings.

b) a strongly connected hall and church- as a large foyer or narthex to the church. There is a question of the degree of connection this would have whether it is a unified space with the ability to divide or whether it is two distinct spaces that can be connected.

Ideally the full landscape and sacred space should form a beneficial, comfortable unit giving the environmental, communal and personal benefits to visitors and numbers.

Consideration of the location and space around the font

Parish specific discussion around font location and type, for example at the entrance, moveable etc. Consider this in conjunction with the narthex and hall possibilities as listed above.

Loose/fixed seating

Flexibility in seating: loose chairs – possibly with arms – and loose pews. This raises consideration of issues with using loose chairs and pews-the requirement to kneel, weight and ability to move pews easily and ensuring their stability.

Consideration for ways of utilizing the provided spaces more regularly as well as making them sacred

Flexibility in use of the space: consider ways physical space and technology could support different uses in the sacred space for periods when it is not used for worship.

Resolution of the potential compromises may be left to the individual parishes, but the objectives of flexibility and success as sacred space must be achieved in all projects.

Importance of a quiet chapel

Importance of a contemplative space that is quiet for individual or small group worship or reflection. Consider its possibility for use outside regular service hours. Consider its relationship to the main church. A quiet chapel could possibly connect to the garden, or even be in the garden.

Contemporary design welcomed

Design to be expressive of today’s and anticipated future needs and aspirations. Design needs to be expressive of the individual parishes and their location.

Ensure that the brief for the new building is achieved in consultation with representatives of the Parish, and that design is reflective of this brief.

OUTDOOR SPACES

Consideration of outdoor worship spaces and having a garden

The significant importance of landscape and outdoor spaces and connection between interior and exterior spaces. Consider more carefully the spaces between buildings and the street to maximize contact, invitation and perception of sacred space within.

The idea of the closed off stone/brick church is perhaps no longer desired? Is there is a desire to express our strong relationship and connection with the landscape with the potential for outdoor worship and celebration space- which could be used for weddings and funerals, performance space, contemplative and memorial gardens and children’s play spaces possibly with community access.

Consider various surface treatments to car-parking surfaces and rainwater in to swales or rain gardens. Car-parks with trees – consider carparks as multiple use spaces for secondary functions- for example church fairs and local markets.

Consider incorporation of heritage elements or local artists sculpture into gardens.

The parish project to include a landscape architect to work with architects at early design stage for better integration of landscape and architecture.

CHILDREN AT CHURCH

Consider provision for a children’s space

Provision for children in adjacent spaces, external play spaces with visual connection to sanctuary and ‘Sunday School’ or children’s liturgy. Consider the use of play spaces able to be used by the community outside normal service hours.

Consider the local communities needs for children’s play group meetings, children’s music sessions, mother’s coffee mornings, hosting birthday parties and antenatal group sessions.

Careful and specific attention needs to be paid to provide a solution for caring for children during services in a safe adjacent and acoustically successful manner.

Internal care or play spaces require careful consideration to ensure safety, acoustic separation and educational objectives are met.