For many years, successive Parochial Church Councils of St Mary’s, Stoke D’Abernon (near Cobham in Surrey) had been examining ways of raising the necessary funding for a new Church Hall. Various proposals were looked at but all seemed to be out of reach until, somewhat unexpectedly, a number of possible sources of funding presented themselves. Within quite a short period St Mary’s became the beneficiary of some substantial legacies. These were all generously provided for no specific purpose other than to further the work of the church.
The PCC took the view that a new hall could play a major part in this, not only by providing much needed facilities for the day to day running of the church, but also to emphasise the need to revitalise perceptions of the church’s place within the wider community. It was agreed that a new and flexible social space which could be made available for community use under St Mary’s auspices would be a great asset.
The legacies alone could not cover the whole cost of the new building. However, other funding appeared, notably in the form of an offer from a school, within whose grounds the church is situated, who wished to take over the old church hall; secondly from the sale of the former verger’s cottage, itself an earlier gift to the church; and thirdly of course from donations from the congregation.
By the Autumn of 2015 the new hall had been completed. It has a single storey with a vaulted roof. There are six principal spaces: an entrance hall/reception area in which visitors can meet over a coffee, a church office, a meeting room which can seat up to twenty, a fully equipped kitchen (and subsidiary kitchenette), an outside decked area for summer use – and the main hall.
The latter is a large area which can seat over 100 or more comfortably in a ‘theatre’ layout or for receptions, for example for weddings. All in all, it is eminently suitable for a wide range of community and church activities amply answering the intended use of the legacies to further the work and ministry of the church, while emphasising the role of St Mary’s in serving the parish of Stoke D’Abernon and the surrounding area both spiritually and practically.
The Stewardship Team, Archbishops’ Council, Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ
Phone the Church Legacy Line for free information and resources: 08445 870875
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