Nearly 200 people came to the open day on Saturday 4 September to see the new changes to the 15th-century building, which include a new dais at the front of the nave, kitchen servery, toilets with wheelchair access, upgraded lighting and 150 upholstered chairs to replace the Victorian pews.
“We were amazed when over 170 people came to see the renewed building. All were full of praise for how well the medieval architecture was displayed and the warmth and welcome created,” said Dave Nettleton, PCC member and Chair of the Renewal Management Team at St Mary’s.
“By working closely with our architect and the Diocesan Advisory Committee, we have been able to achieve a sensitive enhancement of a beautiful building, carefully designed to help serve and inspire the people in our parish now and into the future.”
On Sunday 5 September, the Grade I-listed church held a Renewal Service with the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, and the new facilities were used to provide refreshments after the service.
Dave said: “We were delighted to welcome Bishop Viv to our celebration of the completion of our Renewal Project. She congratulated the parish for the way they had gone about their task – achieving during the last twelve months what many churches might do in stages over several decades.”
“We now have a flexible building able to provide for traditional and contemporary worship and for the teaching of children. Thanks be to God!” he added.
Planning for the Renewal Project began over 10 years ago, with the aim of making the church a more flexible and useful venue, as well as sensitively renovating its medieval architecture.
The majority of the project costs were met by the St Mary's church community through reserves, donations and fundraising, along with grants from Landfill Community Fund, Wiltshire Area Board, Allchurches Trust, Co-op Local Community Fund and Purton Parish Council.
Images: credit St Mary's Purton