Re-opening day 24 March came a little nervously as snow covered the ground and the temperature dropped to below freezing. Not the best start to worshipping in new surroundings and the number attending was quite low.
However, the next Sunday, Easter Day was a different story altogether. With the clocks moving on an hour, the sun shining through the south facing windows and reflecting off Cathcart House to the north side, the sanctuary looked splendid.
Banners and flowers decorated the sanctuary and there was hardly a centre chair vacant. It is estimated that nearly ninety members friends, relations and visitors came to take Holy Communion in celebration of the risen Lord.
Maundy Thursday united Communion service with friends from Harrogate Baptist Church and St Paul's URC was held 'in the round'. An opportunity to put into practice the flexibility of chairs over fixed pews with all able to gather round the Lord's Table. A moving and meditative service.
Easter Saturday Coffee Shop was well attended and the three volunteers on duty kept very busy serving teas, coffees, cakes, scones and sandwiches. There was even a table and two chairs set up outside in the sun! It was good to have the opportunity to get back in the swing of things.
After the Grand Parade, which heralds the start to the annual International Youth Music Festival, we were privileged to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate Councillor Robert and Mrs Sylvia Windass to take a refreshing cup of tea. They have visited the Church on a couple of occasions during their term of office and have become friends.
We are blessed to have been able to carry out this work and look forward to exciting times ahead. You are welcome to join us at any of our coffee shops and on a Sunday Morning.
At the end of March 2012 we received the news that our heating system would be condemned. Church Meeting agreed that the time was now right to have a serious look at modernising the Sanctuary thus making it more user friendly to the community. For a while comments had been uttered that the pews should be removed and replaced with chairs. The need for the heating system to be reviewed added weight to the idea of removing the pews and installing under-floor heating. Our status as a Grade II listed building meant that several committees needed to be consulted. It took about six months but eventually we received all the approval needed and work could commence.
It was fortunate that Morning Worship in the Sanctuary was able to continue until Sunday 9th December thanks to a dedicated heating engineer who coaxed as much power as possible out of one boiler to make the temperature a little more acceptable. Layers were definitely the done thing!
On Monday 10th December the builders began work to remove the pews and install under-floor heating. In due course chairs will be brought in.
Sunday 23rd we joined Trinity Methodists for morning family worship.
Sunday 30th December we will share in the traditional united 'Victoria Avenue Churches' service at St Paul's URC
From Sunday 6th January 2013 we will worship at Trinity Methodist until our building is ready for us to return.
Stray View Coffee Shop - closed on Saturday 15th December until Saturday 16 March 2013 hopefully (revised date).
10 December Work did commence and the pews and floor partly removed.
15 December We held the last Saturday Coffee Shop until March and welcomed many people to sing carols and listen to readings.
Sunday 16th We were welcomed to Trinity Methodist Church by worshippers, many of whom have become friends after their stay at West Park a year or more ago and we enjoyed the Nativity and Christingle service.
In the evening we were treated to a Festival of Lessons and Carols arranged by David Wiberforce and an augmented choir
Sunday 23rd Family worship at Trinity Methodist Church followed by coffee and mince pies
Sunday 30th Annual United 'Avenue Churches' service at St Paul's URC
Friday 4th January Second of the Friday Coffee Shops was very well attended as folk re-gathered after the Christmas and New Year.
Sunday 6th January Family worship with Holy Communion at Trinity Methodist Church
Monday 7th Work resumed to remove remaining pews and lay further insulation prior to preparation for the under-floor heating pipe plates.
Friday 11th January The last in the series of Bible Studies followed Coffee Shop
Sunday 13th January Family worship at Trinity Methodist Church
Monday 14th January Heating engineers should arrive today (snow permitting!) to begin installing the u/f heating
Monday 21st January Aluminium heating boards and pipes now completely installed and tested ok. Plywood covering partially laid.
Monday 28th January Floor covering almost complete. Side panelling partially in place. Ramp floor laid in south corridor.
Monday 4th February Completion of remaining panelling this week. Remedial work to plaster and some painting to come.
Monday 11th February Two cupboards to be completed this week. Treatment of plasterwork ongoing. Staining of the panelling and painting to take place.
Monday 25th February The heating test has been completed but the thermostat needs a little adjustment to raise the temperature. Painting had to wait until the walls are completely dry. Hopefully this week it will begin.
Our anticipated day for reopening is 17 March if all goes to plan. If we are not completely ready we will wait until 24th March.
Monday 4 March Painting underway and hopefully will be complete by Thursday when staining of the side panelling will commence. Then there is the carpet to lay, the organ reconnect and much polishing to be done. We need to spend a week of intense activity preparing the sanctuary ready for worship. An army of volunteers is standing by.
Monday 11 March. Carpet laying and cleaning this week. Volunteers are at the ready!
Monday 18 March. The carpet was laid and all volunteers turned up as planned to clean and shift as the preparations to return began in earnest. The remainder of the cleaning was completed and the organ reconnected. We were ready to return for worship.
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