In 1963, electric lighting was introduced into the nave. These fittings have served well for half a century. Originally, the lamps were changed, as and when they failed, by the intrepid wardens of the day using ladders. In latter days, the fire brigade changed them for us. The problem is accessing them as ladders are no longer permitted to be used at this height.
Late in 2016, the lamps started to fail again and so it was decided, as the cost of access is so great, that we should take this moment to consider replacing the system with modern, cheap to run lighting. We then realised that we didn’t have the expertise to choose between the solutions being offered and so, with diocesan advice, appointed a professional to design a lighting system. The brief was to provide a lighting system that would be cheap to run, more easily accessible, able to provide general lighting, but also programmable to allow ambient lighting for special services. The church is also being used increasingly often for concerts, both by community groups and our own musicians and choirs, all of whom need better lighting than we have at present.
The present sound system is very basic with five fixed, one roving and two lapel microphones. It was designed for how the church was being used in 2005. Services and general use have evolved since then and so it is necessary to upgrade the system. Also there is an increasing need for a fixed projector and screen.
In 2014, there was a problem with the West Wall; after repairs it was painted to disguise the repairs. The colour transformed the church and enthused many of the congregation to find a way to decorate the rest of the church. The actual work is not particularly expensive; however the access cost was prohibitive. Thus it seems sensible to grab the opportunity, while access is in place, to decorate the walls.
The work can be split into three phases, allowing more time for fundraising and so that some parts of the church can be used while the rest is inaccessible due to scaffolding etc. Based on one sample quote tendered in 2018 this can be broken down as follows:
Phase 1: Chancel, vestry and AV installation £91,500
Phase 2: Nave £49,100
Phase 3: Nave, side aisles and Lady Chapel £25,400
Total cost of work £166,000
Fees: (Lighting designer and architect) £24,900
VAT on AV and associated fees: £10,000
Allowance for inflation and contingency: £49,100
Total for project: £250,000
We have many suggestions and plans for organising fund raising events in 2019 and beyond. These include concerts, flower festival, auction of promises, barn dance, talent challenge, vintage sale, plant sales, gala dinner, etc.
We are exploring grants and trust funds who might be willing to support projects of this type.
We will be asking for direct donations towards the project and would be very grateful for any fund raising suggestions and/or help with events.
CAN YOU SUPPORT US?
Long term benefits
When we replace the lighting system, this fine building will be able to continue to be used for many different functions, both for services and concerts. An upgraded AV system will allow a wider variety of uses and for different services to be held. The decorating of the upper walls will make the whole church more welcoming and appealing to the congregation and the community in general. St James’ Church is a thriving church, and a successful outcome of this project will allow this to continue and grow.