An emotional return to our church building

7th September 2020
Leatherhead Parish Church

How wonderful it was to be back worshipping in the church building on Sunday morning having completed the first phase of our Making History re-ordering project.

Covid may have had the country locked down since March, but our building had been closed since long before that! When we processed out on 14th July 2019, we all thought that we’d be back by early Spring. However, Covid restrictions intervened. Contractors were prevented from coming onto site and all building work was suspended until very recently.

return to church – a cause for celebration 

With phase one of our Making History project now complete, Sunday was cause for great celebration – albeit a little muted. Our stripped back 10:30am worship service followed strict government guidance. This included sanitiser, face coverings, social distancing and sadly, no singing. Nonetheless, it was an emotional return to our church building.

breath-taking transformation

The transformation within the church is breath-taking. Respectful of the medieval architecture and Victorian re-ordering in the Upper Chancel, the remodelling has created a spacious, warm and welcoming environment. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will open the church for the whole community to enjoy.

As Revd Graham Osborne commented:

“It wasn’t the grand opening we were envisaging, but more events to say thank you to our many donors will take place as soon as it is safe to do so.”

grants made a big difference to our progress

So many people sacrificed time energy, finance and expertise to get us this far on our journey to create a church fit for the 21st century. We are truly grateful to everyone who gave so generously, or organised and participated in the many fundraising events.

We are also extremely appreciative of several substantial grants that made a big difference to our progress:

  • The Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church, the non-denominational charity dedicated to the maintenance and conservation of St Mary & St Nicholas Parish Church, contributed £100,000 to the new stone floor.
  • Mole Valley District Council awarded a neighbourhood grant of £10,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy toward the ramp, which increases accessibility to the newly established Heritage Area.
  • Allchurches Trust, one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities whose funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, topped up the building fund by providing a £20,000 grant that ensured that the rationalised building contract could be signed by the tender deadline.

With phase one now realised, the project team will turn its attention to generating the necessary funds to move ahead on digging a drain to the road, fitting out the kitchen and building the toilets.

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The Parish Office, Parish Church Hall, Church Road, Leatherhead,
Surrey, KT22 8BD