Clarence Road Evangelical Church in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight has recently been gifted to Church Growth Trust (CGT). As the building does not comply with the Equality Act in providing reasonable access for disabled people, and needs modernising in other ways, CGT agreed with the church to appoint an architect. The brief for the architect was not only to ensure that the property is compliant for legislation, but also that it is suitable for modern church use, enabling the church more effectively to reach the local community.
Plans were drawn up by John Quinlan Architects. These included raising the floor of the main worship area, so the whole ground floor is at one level, as well as providing a new more welcoming entrance. The draft plans were presented to the church and a meeting was held recently to discuss these. Giles Arnold from CGT attended the meeting and was encouraged that the church were willing to have a very open and frank discussion. Although this included concerns over the potential cost of the building project and the practical details of how the work might be phased, there was a real sense of vision for reaching the local community, growing the church and seeing the Lord provide the resources that are needed to change the building.
As Giles Arnold states: “we always encourage churches to start with their God-given vision, so that any plans for their building fit with the vision. It was encouraging for me to see the church engage with this. There was a sense of excitement over the idea of carrying out a survey in the local community and seeing the building transformed to enable the church to open it up for the community to use. It is a great privilege to work with churches like this, to enable building projects to happen that would not have taken place otherwise. I can see the church’s faith growing through this.”