Over 70 people gathered in St Kenelm’s Church on the evening of Sunday 15 July, after the closing matches in the World Cup and Wimbledon, to celebrate a local achievement of equal commitment and effort – the restoration and reordering of our village church. With hymns accompanied on the organ, voices amplified by the sound system, and service sheets illuminated by the lights, we took full advantage of all the new facilities.
We started the service ‘In this place…’ and Charles Powell, who has worked tirelessly for many years to preserve and maintain the church, reflected on how this place of worship has been built, improved and extended over many generations. We then journeyed ‘Through all the changing scenes of life…’ and considered how the church is a place for celebrations and commemorations in people’s lives – baptisms, marriages and funerals – as well as where we mark the passing of time through the seasons and festivals of the church year – Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.
Then we turned to ‘Enjoying and sharing this place…’. Yvonne Jones talked about the different ways in which the church building is used to gather people for social events, such as the coffee mornings, and for concerts, art exhibitions, and shared meals. Finally, we considered the fact that the work over the past thirty years is ‘A gift for the future…’. Annette Lawrence, whose husband Martin was instrumental in forming the vision for beautifying and enhancing the church, summed up all that has been achieved by so many people. The church is ready for future generations of residents and visitors to worship, celebrate and gather together as a community. Refreshments were served from the new servery afterwards, and the loo was admired, and used!
The story doesn’t finish there, however. It has been possible through generous donations to order new benches to replace the remaining pews. It is also planned to replace the folding metal chairs, with stackable chairs that will look much better and be more comfortable.
To raise the £33,000 we need to finish our 30-year restoration and reordering project, we are seeking sponsorship of £275 per chair and invite you to be part of our legacy for future generations. Would you be able to help us — perhaps in memory of someone or in thanksgiving for all that the Church means to you? Details of how you can do so can be found here. All sponsors and those commemorated will be recorded on a ‘Roll of Benefactors’ to be displayed in the Church.
Later this year, our stunning new reredos depicting the life of St. Kenelm by Nicholas Mynheer will be installed. On Sunday 25th November, the Bishop of Dorchester will be leading a service of dedication for all that has been achieved. If you are able, please do join us!