Permission Granted!

Last night (Tuesday 4th Sept) I had the joy of sitting in the viewing gallery at Woking Borough Council as the Planning Committee gave their unanimous approval to our new building plans for Welcome Church.

Permission Granted!

This is going to be a huge blessing: to us as a church, to the local area and also to the town more widely. We are so grateful both to God and to Woking Council.

There were lots of positive comments made by councillors at the meeting …

  • About the design: “This will provide a state of the art facility”
  • About the process: “They have worked hard to consult the neighbours”
  • About the impact: “This will be good for the town and the local area”

And there were also many positive comments made about us as a church, accompanied by positive comments about us coming to the end of a long road with this final (and “much appreciated”) application for development of our site.

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We have a lot to be thankful for

Let’s remember to give thanks to God, and also to thank the planning officers and the councillors who gave their time and effort to consider our application.

And let’s remember what we heard on Sunday morning during the worship time: “God did not give us an amazing site in the middle of town so that we can stand still”. We have so much ahead of us to do as we serve the town where God has placed us; the best days are not behind us!

What’s next?

We now have some key steps to take:

  • We need to finalise the finer points of the design
  • We need to raise the rest of the finance
  • We need to sign contracts with the developers
  • We need to prepare ourselves … including putting some things in storage, throwing some things away, working out what it means for how we work and what’s in the diary during the building process

Early warning: one of the first things to go will be our current car park … but we will make sure to communicate well ahead of time.

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A bird’s eye view of our plans

Gift days

We have done amazingly well with raising finance for this project so far. We now need to do the last bit, so there will be Gift Days for this on Sundays 4th and 18th November. Look out for information about that over the next few weeks, and do be praying and preparing your heart for what God may be leading you to do.

Double celebration

It’s actually a double celebration for Jo and I this week. Not only was planning permission granted, but we also passed our first anniversary at Welcome Church on Saturday (1st Sept).

Thanks for all the friendship, support and prayers along the way. We love this church and it’s a joy to be here with you.

Gift Days: Week 2 update

Last Sunday we had the second of our Gift Days for the New Building Project, and ahead of this weekend I wanted give another update on our progress so far.

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Our giving brochure – copies available on request!

Let’s remember again what this project is for: this is all about mission. This is all about making us more effective in our calling to serve our town and further afield, and to tell people about Jesus.

Let’s remember the vision we have as a church:

“To see lives changed and communities impacted for good through God’s Grace in Action”

These Gift Days and this building project are all about moving forward in our vision together.

Once again it was wonderful to see so many people coming forward to give, and it’s been such a blessing to hear of money being given in faith as the week has gone by too.

I’m sure you want to know how we’re doing so far, so watch this video up date to find out where we’ve got to:

This video contains sub-titles – just click on the “cc” button to switch them on or off.

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it.

Be blessed and enjoy!

Gift Days: week 1 update

RESENT WITH THE CORRECT VIDEO LINK THIS TIME!

As a church we’re in the middle of three significant Sundays: we’re holding Gift Days for people to give and to pledge money to our New Building Project.

Let’s remember what the Building Project is for.:

In September this church will be 139 years old. We’re blessed to own land and a building in the middle of Woking. A previous generation, along with some who are still with us today, had faith for this church and put that faith into action to buy and to build. We now enjoy  the benefit of that.

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The current Coign Church building

Sadly the building we have is no longer big enough for us and doesn’t suit our needs, so we’ve made plans to build a new 675 seat chapel. We also want to repurpose the current building for children’s work, youth work, offices and serving the community.

In terms of finance, the project will cost around £4m. We can borrow around £2m of that, and we already have around £0.5m. So we need to raise £1.5m.

Remember, we’re not building a monument; this is about enabling us to be more effective in our mission to reach this town, and further afield, with the good news of Jesus. This is all about mission.

Last week was week 1 of our gift days, and you may be wondering how we did. If so, here is a one minute video update to excite you for this Sunday

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it. Its the one titled, “Our First Gift Day”

Enjoy!

Building Our Future Together

April is going to be a huge month for our church!

  • On April 22nd, at our Vision Focus Evening, we will be announcing the new name for our church, along with a new mission statement and a new vision statement (6.30pm at the Coign Church Building!)
  • In mid-April we intend to put in the planning application for our new building
  • At the end of April we will have the first of three Gift Sundays to fund the new building project
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Try to spot yourself

I feel like I’m at the top of a rollercoaster and it’s about to get very fast and very exciting! We’ve been climbing the slope together for a while now, and now it’s time to ‘go’.

The building project is key to our future together

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Please ask for a copy

To help communicate well with everyone, we’ve prepared a brochure which we’ve been giving out on Sundays (do ask if you want a copy – we can give one to you directly or post you one).

It looks like this:

The brochure contains lots of information about what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we hope to achieve.

It also contains information about the part we can each play to see this done

Standing on the shoulders of giants

As a church we are so privileged to have the land and the building we currently have, right at the heart of Woking Town Centre. We are reaping the benefits of the faith of a previous generation (some of whom are very much still with us!)

Now it’s time for us to step out in faith as others before us have done.

The first picture here shows an aerial view of the town centre, around 1930, and in the centre is our original building in Percy Street. The second picture shows our current building:

Why are we making these changes?

The building we have is not big enough for us and does not suit our purposes today – that’s why we meet elsewhere on a Sunday. It’s also in need of some work to bring it up to date. God is blessing our church, and we need a good building to do all God us calling us to do together.

What do we want to build?

Everyone has had the chance to see our plans and to comment on them, but in case you missed it: our plan is to create a new 675 seater hall at the back of our current site and to repurpose the current building to serve our kids work, our youth work, and our community. It will also host our offices.

This will give us several things:

  • A useable Sunday venue (no more 6.30am set up!)
  • A place to call home that will serve our church, with rooms for children’s work and youth work, crèche, offices, rooms for community use and more
  • A place from which to serve the community, in all sorts of ways
  • A place that will be a blessing to local residents; an oasis in a busy area of town 
  • A family home for our church in which we can grow and serve together

Ultimately we’re doing this to bring glory to God

This is about mission; this is about the Great Commission; this is about connecting with our town; this is about the gospel; this is about being a blessing to Woking.

These pictures give an idea of what we are planning to achieve:

Our next steps

The planning application should be put in during early to mid-April. Of course, in a process like this, we obviously can’t wait for that to come back before we start seeking funding; we need to raise finance now in order to secure the full funding we need.

I’ve talked elsewhere (and in the brochure) about what this will all cost, and our target right now is to raise around one and a half million pounds … ideally by the autumn.

Let’s see what God will do as we step out in faith together.

Gift Days

We will be holding Gift Days as a church on:

  • Sunday 29th April
  • Sunday 6th May
  • Sunday 13th May

The brochure contains information on lots of ways you can give to the building fund; some simple, some more complex. If you have any questions, please ask. We have also made a short video to explain what we are doing – you can watch that here:

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it.

There are three things we are now asking people to do:

  1. Read the brochure through – any questions, please ask!
  2. Pray for the planning permission to go through
  3. See what God is giving you faith to give, and then go for it in faith

These are exciting times for our church

Let’s step out in faith and let’s do something that will serve our church, serve this town and be a blessing to the generations that will follow us.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Jesus – Luke 6v38)

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(Paul – 2 Corinthians 9v6-7)

 

Onwards and upwards! Part 2: Buildings

During our recent Coign Church Vision Focus evening we highlighted a number of plans and changes ahead. Last week my blog focussed on some team changes we are making; this week I want to mention our building plans.

Buildings

We are so privileged to be on our current site. I suspect that if we did not already own it, we would be very unlikely to be able to obtain it today; there are so many other uses that the land would have been put to by now!

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Our current “totally awesome but also in need of work” building

Challenges

The current Coign Church building is too small for our needs; we already meet elsewhere on a Sunday (at the HG Wells conference centre) because of space constraints. The building is also in need of some work to bring it up to a good standard.

Over the years several attempts have been made to solve this issue – including some laudable attempts to create a self funding project – but none has succeeded. It does not seem that God is taking us via that route – and we have tried! 

Faith

Our current building location is great and we do not plan to give up ownership of even one square inch of it. People of faith got us into this place; let’s not have less faith than they did!

So let’s create something together that will serve our current needs, and also help us create our future together as a church. So on that basis, it’s time to take matters back into out own hands …

It’s time for a building project!

Whatever we do will cost money, and a large part of that will come from our giving. We will almost certainly also be looking to borrow some funding for the work to go ahead.

Sometimes people feel uncomfortable about the church spending money on buildings – and I understand why – but let’s remember: this is not the alternative to spending on mission!

A good building is both essential for and integral to our mission.

Everything we do as a church is mission; we are a mission organisation. And we can’t run the church we are called to run in this climate and this culture without buildings.

This isn’t a new or unique issue to us, and even in the Bible we see God’s people spending a lot of time an focus on buildings:

  • Read about David, or Solomon, or Moses, or Nehemiah, or Ezra.
  • Where did the first church meet? in a large upper room … in the temple courts … and also in homes.
  • Where did Paul build the church in Ephesus? He hired a lecture hall for two years.
  • How do we know these things? Because buildings matter and people wrote it all down for us!

Our plan for the future is fairly simple:

We plan to redevelop the current site to create an auditorium across the back, and then redevelop the front to serve our kids and youth work, our church offices and the community. Obviously this will all be far more complex and involved than it sounds, and we are now working with architects.

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The Team from Plan A UK: Paul, Darren and Steve

Our goals

  • Let’s aim for a building that looks good, and that people notice and know about
  • Let’s aim for a building that serves all of our church needs, including Sunday mornings and midweek
  • Let’s aim for a building that everyone in the community has a reason to come into at least once a year
  • Let’s aim for a building that will be a blessing to the community of Woking, the surrounding area and most of all to our nearest neighbours

The way forward

So we’ve started working with an architect called Paul Ginever, and his team from Plan A UK. We’ve had some great meetings with them, and we’re excited by how things are taking shape.

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Paul Ginever

In the New Year we will introduce them to you in person, and also start to talk together about buildings and the way forward.

Lots of people will have views and ideas that all need to be heard and feed in to what we do. And we need to consult with all the interested parties, including those who live nearby.

So let’s work together to do something fantastic. And one more thing:

A New Building Fund

We have opened a new, ring fenced, building fund, and every penny given to that fund will go to finance the redevelopment of this site; to finance our New Building.

You can give to it right away if you want to; I would love to see that happen and I know that some have started already. To  join in just give to the church as normal, but tell us that it’s for the New Building Fund. You might also like to consider making a legacy gift in your will – just ask us how.

In 2018 we will have some gift days – and we do need to raise a lot of money – but more info will follow on that in the New Year. And let’s remember

We are on a mission together, and God has  great plans ahead for us; plans to give us a future and a hope.

Let’s go for it in faith!