Renovation hope for ‘depressing’ Beer church

15:00 11 May 2014

Beer’s ‘thoroughly depressing’ parish church will undergo major internal renovations to reverse a period of decline if parishioners lend their support.

A damning report compared St Michael’s to a cluttered ‘rummage sale’ filled with abandoned remnants of a bygone era – but the parish church council (PCC) is determined to give it a new lease of life.

The proposed work includes removing many of the pews and the altar, levelling the floor, reconfiguring the layout and installing storage space.

A professional survey noted: “For all the claims that the church is an impressive building and celebration of its grandeur, the present interior is full of clutter and all manner of stuff that no-one seems to have had the confidence to throw away.

“It has the appearance of a slightly musty and irrelevant rummage sale, remnants of a bygone era that have been abandoned with a degree of sorrow and sadness.

“It all suggests a congregation who are overwhelmed by the challenges of their building and mission. I found St Michael’s a thoroughly depressing place to be.”

In response, the plans read: “This candid report stung the PCC and congregation into serious reflection, and the realisation that continued decline could only lead to closure. It also led to a resolve that this should not be the case.”

Knowing the work would be needed, the PCC already has the funds set aside, and its coffers were boosted recent by a generous legacy.

The PCC wants to clear the clutter and make the building appear ‘more cared for and loved’, and create a more intimate space for smaller services and prayer.

They also plan to improve the facilities for families and younger people, form a larger space for social interaction and an occasional café, enhance the popular bookstall and boost the quality of the space for concerts and exhibitions.

The majority of Beer’s 1,500 parishioners will attend a service at some point in the year, and the church aims to make those experiences positive.

The grade II listed church was completed in 1877 and is currently left open every day of the year, attracting several thousand visitors.

The blueprints have won the approval of the Diocese of Exeter and now the church has to make a ‘petition for faculty’ to the parishioners.

They are on display in the church, together with instructions for anyone wanting to object.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 06:30
Mike Rock of Dream-A-Way (white shirt) with mascot Jude Barrett,Matthew Barrett,Russell Bellairs,Nick Baker,Mark Denning and Stephen Parry.
Ref shs 1039-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A team of five fundraisers will have just 10 wheels between them when they ride the length of the country in just a week for a new charity-boosting Sidmouth group.

Read more
Fri, 16:30
Ref shs 1166 Gas canister. Picture: Steve Sumner

The bomb squad was called to Sidmouth beach for the second time in little more than a week on Wednesday afternoon due to an object that ‘could have been mistaken for a torpedo’.

Read more
Fri, 12:19
2014's Ottery Scouts annual jumble sale

Bargain hunters are invited enjoy some retail therapy in Ottery next week as the town’s scouts host their annual jumble sale.

Read more
Fri, 06:36
Photo by Tony Green

A warning has been issued that ‘people need to take responsibility for their own safety’ as yet more beachgoers put their lives at risk on Sidmouth’s dangerous east beach.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition

Devon's trusted business finder