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Parish Office

April 2024

Our New Parish Centre – 3D model revealed!

Skip ahead to images of the model and your questions answered.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the event on Saturday 20th April.

Neil Maclure and Iain PritchardAround fifty people came to see Neil Maclure’s beautifully-crafted 3D model which has brought the project to life in a new and exciting way. We were delighted that Jane, the Bishop of Hertford was able to join us for this informative and inspiring evening.

Expertly hosted by Iain Pritchard, the meeting’s main focus was to showcase Neil’s 3D model of the new Parish Centre, the scale of its facilities and particularly how it will be connected to the church. This direct access between the church and the Parish Centre will enable a ‘free flow’ of movement between the two buildings, visibly emphasising how God’s love is at the heart of everything we do in church and in the community.  Accompanied by slides of interior viewpoints as well as architect’s impressions, Neil walked us into, around and outside the building. This allowed us to imagine just how we might build upon and further develop our existing community outreach activities as a result of a more flexible and sustainable space.

Bishop Jane then encouraged us to act with courage and faith in taking this step forward. She recognised it was an ambitious project, but reminded us of the history of St John’s and how we have grown and adapted over the years since the existing church was built in 1908. She commended the project to God and asked Him to help us move forward in prayer.

Recognising that the estimated costs of the project have increased since 2019 (our new target is now £1.9m) and that there are always competing commitments on our time and budget, Iain invited Carol Cooke to talk about why she chose to support the project back in 2020.  Carol eloquently shared her strong and heart-felt belief in the project.  She encouraged and inspired us to consider this as a defining moment in the life of St John’s, urging us to recognise the difference the new building would make to the church and the community going forward.

Evening in full swingIain concluded the formal presentations by inviting us all to consider how we might support the project. Project Ambassadors, Matt Barter, Liz Sergeant, David Nye, Lauryn Awbrey, Carol Cooke and Neil Maclure were on hand to answer specific questions over refreshments. 

The way forward now is clear. Everyone in the congregation will be invited to support the project through a donation, however large or small, and ideally through a five-year pledged gift. Our team of Ambassadors will be in touch over the coming weeks to answer all your questions and to talk through the process in more detail.

If you would like to find out more, we have the following materials available:

If you were unable to join us this time, we are planning to repeat the event in June.

Many thanks for your support.

Matt Barter
Project Co-ordinator

 Click on the images for larger versions

Looking from the new access into/out of church towards the serving counter, with the lounge  on the right (red comfy chairs), the open doorway into the kitchen behind the counter and the corridor with double doors into the hall just visible on the left.Looking across the serving counter towards the cafe tables and the new access into church.

Your questions answered

Do we have planning permission?

Planning permission from St Albans District Council was granted again in May 2023 after the first planning permission expired after three years in September 2022. We are now actively assessing ways in which we can implement the new planning permission, to ensure that a further application is not required in two years’ time.

How many people have pledged to the project?

At the end of 2023 there were thirty-two people actively pledging to the project. The total amount pledged, including one-off donations, currently stands at £510,000. A further £11,500 has been raised through various fundraising events. We have received six one-off donations/pledges from people completely unconnected to St John’s, thus emphasising the interest in this project to the wider community. Only five people have withdrawn from the pledge scheme in the last four years (mainly due to moving away).

Can we reach our target?

Approximately 95% of people who have been approached by the project Ambassadors have either pledged or made a donation. We have another 120 or so members of the congregation to approach, and this is very much our focus for 2024. Analysis of the pledges and one-off donations received to date, and a forward projection of what might be received from those we have not yet approached, would indicate that there is no reason at all that we cannot achieve our stated targets.

What happens to my money if we don’t reach the target?

If we decide not to go ahead with the Parish Centre project for whatever reason, rest assured you will be offered your money back. Any money you have pledged for this project cannot be used for anything else without your specific agreement.

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