a welcome home
Please take a seat. All Saints is embarking on a larger project to make our buildings more welcoming, accessible, and restful spaces to be in.
Of course, church is not a building we go to, it is a family we belong to. And so, the buildings are kind of like a family home and we need to invest in them so that they can more fully become places of welcome and community. An early step on this longer journey is to replace the pews at All Saints with versatile and comfortable seating that will open up the space to a wide range of community uses.
We’re talking about a quarter of a million bottoms on seats over the next 12 years.
There has been a lot of thought given to the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of our chairs. Catch up on more of that conversation below and hopefully find answers to some of the questions we may have like: “What’s wrong with the pews?” or “Why this particular chair?”
Will you consider funding your own chair? And perhaps the chair you'd like to see your friend sat in?
£37.50 funds half a chair, £75 funds one chair, £150 funds a pair of chairs, £375 funds a family of chairs!
You can register your pledge at the back of church and stick a chair onto the plan to encourage us on our way to a full order of 320 chairs.
What’s more, you can help fund a new sound system for free! If you are able to Gift Aid your donation please do so, as we can claim an extra 25% from the government which will go towards further improvements at All Saints including a better sound system.
Some more info
What’s wrong with the pews?
The main problem is the restriction they impose on how the space within All Saints is used. The fixed pews have offered an efficient (if somewhat uncomfortable) set up for formal Sunday worship but they effectively shut out a variety of other community uses. By removing the pews, All Saints can become a versatile venue for children’s groups, parties, banquets, concerts, and conferences and more – things we long to do. And from a heritage preservation perspective, such use of the building (beyond Sunday worship) is critical towards generating the investment that is needed going forward. (Furthermore, the current Victorian pews are not especially fine specimens nor are they in a good condition, that said, you'll have the chance to buy one when they come out!)
Why this particular chair?
The SB2M is already in use in many comparable church buildings and has received approval by the careful Church of England faculty process. During our testing exercise (which you may have been a part of if passing through the church office a couple of months back) it came out the clear winner in every category (we considered 4 possible designs according to appearance, weight, comfort, and ‘the slouch test’) and, unknown to all our testers, it also turned out to be the least expensive. The SB2M is a durable long-life chair, comfortable and easy to move, it stacks extremely efficiently (25 high) on wheeled trolleys, and will enable All Saints to host a wide variety of functions.
Do the chairs really cost £75 each?
The price of a single chair with VAT is £59.64. We also need to purchase the links that will hold the chairs together (£5 each), and the trolleys (£234). All in, this works out at £74.98 per chair.
Do we really need 320 chairs? And all at once?
We need to put in an order for 320 chairs before we can begin removing the pews. This is a stipulation of our faculty (planning permission). 320 represents the likely maximum seated capacity at All Saints and so it is unlikely that we will regularly be setting them all out. While particular occasions may well require all 320 chairs, we also expect in due course to put in the same chair at St Helen’s allowing us flexibility between the buildings.
Do I have to donate a fixed amount or in a lump sum?
Feel free to donate any amount you wish! Lump sums are great, equally, if it suits you to set up a specific standing order giving a smaller amount per month that's great too - just email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
What's the deadline?
We need to raise 25% of our total ASAP (£6000 of £24000) so that we can place the order, which will enable us to begin the work at All Saints without delay. Then we're aiming to have our final total given or pledged by the end of November.