St Mary’s Kidlington is much more than a spectacular venue for a range of cultural events (concerts, exhibitions, lectures, flower festivals) and group meetings. It holds a special place in the hearts of very many families who come here to mark special milestones across their lives. It is the gathering point at momentous times in our personal, community, or national lives. Its spire is a symbolic connection between heaven and earth and the cockerel on the top calls us to awake and re-connect with all that is important in life’s journey.
The octo-centenary celebrations in 2020 were interrupted but we look forward to the time when St Mary’s can again be our gathering point. At that time we will celebrate, but we will also mourn the losses that Covid 19 has wrought upon our community. As this building has seen plagues and wars, tragedies and joys and everything in between through the centuries so the church will be for us the place to come when we need space to think, somewhere to cry, somewhere to leave a flower or light a candle, or just be ourselves and know God’s peace.
But if St Mary’s is to continue to play this role for local people into the future we have to maintain and upgrade the buildings. Previous generations have all left their mark on the fabric of the church as they rearranged space and the fabric to serve the needs of the people at the time.
In our time, we have several challenges that we have accepted as projects to mark the 800th anniversary:
- Internally, to improve access by levelling the irregular and dangerous floors, to bring into use the North Transept which has been neglected for many years, and to remove the wooden plinth in the South aisle restoring the dirt floor underneath to appropriate stonework.
- To re-build the Refectory as an accessible modern hall to meet the needs of the many events that we host on site and to move the parish office to this site where it can be the appropriate focus of welcome and administration for the building.
COVID 19 has inevitably delayed plans and fund raising but we hope that we can work towards phase one, the internal works, shortly.
Our church is active, vibrant, and growing but our buildings cannot support our ministry and mission in ways that people expect and need in the 21st century. We hope you will be excited and supportive of the plans which we are delighted to share with you in this consultation phase.
The details of the plans are set out in the consultation document which will be on display on big boards in St Mary’s or you can download it here.
We really value your support for the projects and your feedback for the plans, whether that is in church or online. Please show your support by writing your thoughts and your constructive comments. Copies of the feedback questionnaire will be available in the church or you can respond online by using this link.
I would like to thank the 2020 projects group and our architects, Acanthus Clews, for all their hard work and positive energy that has got us to this stage.
And of course, a big thank you to you too for taking part in this consultation.
God bless you and those you love
Felicity Scroggie, Team Rector