State of the Church Hall

Church Hall
St John the Evangelist Deepcar Church Hall
Earlier this year the PCC considered the state of the Church Hall. The Hall is primarily used for our work with children and young people, especially at the Sunday morning 10.45 service. It is also used by community groups, although the number of groups using the Hall has dropped off (due among other issues to competition from the Venue), and the Hall no longer breaks even financially.
The Hall had been discussed about 4 years ago, and tenders sent out for replacing the asbestos roof. These tenders were in the region of £35,000 - £ 40,000, but were not proceeded with.
Because we believe our work with children and young people to be a priority, a small group looked at the issue and came to the conclusion that we should try to do work on the Church Hall to make it a suitable venue for such important work. Because doing it well would require applications to various sources to help with funding, we applied for (and received) a grant from the diocese for our architect to do a feasibility study.
The architect came to a meeting of the PCC on October 16 to present his report. The total figure to do a thorough job (including refurbishment of the interior) was estimated to be around £140,000 (including fees and VAT). This included a specialist rendering to prevent damp getting into the structure and causing corrosion to the steel framework of the building. (A total rebuild was estimated to be over £200,000).
Looking at the details, we thought it possible to reduce these costs to somewhere around £80,000. However, the architect recommended further investigation of the building to establish how much corrosion there was in the steel framework. This has been carried out; there is some corrosion but not a large amount. However, we are not able to establish the state of the framework at the bottom, and the length of life left for the building is uncertain.
At the meeting on October 16th, the PCC began with a verse from 2 Chronicles 20:12 – ‘we do not know what to do, but our eyes are fixed upon you’. During a time of prayer, one member had a verse which he felt may be from God – ‘do not put new wine in old wineskins’. As a Council, we have been praying and waiting upon God.
We met again on Thursday November 12. In the intervening time, we had had a further discussion with the architect; Valley Pentecostal Church had purchased their building (which would have further rooms for hire to community groups); and one of the groups using the Hall has indicated that it will halve its use. At the meeting after prayer each individual member was asked for their views. There was considerable agreement, and 3 options were voted on:-
Option 1 – to pursue the full-blown refurbishment of the building at a cost of £100,000 plus.
Option 2 – to replace the roof and do other work at a cost of £50,000 plus.
Option 3 – to do enough work to make the Hall usable for another few years, but aim in the long term to create more space within the church building, for example by screening off one aisle, and by considering how the chancel might be used for meeting rooms.
The Council voted unanimously for Option 3. In terms of the Hall, this would involve seeking to repair/seal the guttering, replacing the windows, putting in new carpeting, and repairing the suspended ceiling in the Hall. Decoration of the Hall could be done by church members. We estimate this would cost in total around £10-15,000.
One group of the PCC will be looking at what work is needed and getting quotes; another group will be looking at fund-raising, of which a significant part will need to be giving by the congregation.
One option in the future MAY be to sell the land currently occupied by the Church Hall, but this has only just entered our thinking.
We are proposing a meeting in church for the congregation on Sunday December 6th from 10.00 – 10.30 am to give an opportunity for questions and comments.
If you are unable to be at this meeting please feel free to speak to any members of the Church Council with your comments and questions.
We feel that we have been on a journey with all of this; we began with an earnest desire to improve the church hall. We have ended with a desire to do further work on the church. The reasons include:
·         A preference for spending significant sums on a building which will last, rather than one whose long-term future is uncertain. We also recognise that in the current financial climate we need even more than usual to be wise stewards of the resources God gives us. 
·         There is considerable competition for providing rooms for hire, and we do not believe that a refurbished Hall would pay for itself through lettings.
·         Keeping the children and young people’s work within the church building seems preferable to many of us.
·         Future mission will be likely to involve going to where people are; also we sense that those who use the Hall do not really identify it with the church.
St John’s Deepcar Church Council


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