The project is nearing completion, with the end in sight within several weeks. Progress has been somewhat hampered due to Covid-related problems with availability and delivery of materials, but soon the Facilities will be ready for viewing and use, Government restrictions permitting.
Here is a description of progress to date:-
· The toilet extension is complete barring the installation of the floor covering and skirting board. This includes the flower arrangers corner with a Belfast sink and storage cupboard.
· The tea station and storage cupboard in the South aisle are complete (see photograph). The standard of design and workmanship has already been much admired.
· The fabrication of the external doors for the south porch is in progress off-site, with installation due very shortly.
· The accessible ramp to the South porch has been completed, including the asphalt topping.
· The brickwork, flintwork and oak framing to the exterior walls of the extension are complete.
· Fireproofing the interior of the oil tank housing at the Southwest corner of the churchyard has been completed and the new oil tank installed. New oil supply pipelines have been installed across the churchyard from the tank housing to the South porch. Many thanks are due to the community for their patience during the time the churchyard had to be closed for safety reasons. Hope runs high that the church will be warm before the onset of winter!
· Restoration of the damaged stonework where the old flue chimney was removed has been completed.
· Final design is in progress for the wood and metal mesh boiler enclosure in the South porch.
Inevitably there had been a build-up of construction dust throughout the church. This was cleared away and the church made to sparkle by many willing hands, all in time for the first church service since lockdown held on October 4th.
The present Parish Church of Elham, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, built of ragstone and flint, dates from 1170 to 1200, when it replaced a Saxon Church on the same sloping site in the valley of the Nailbourne. The view from across the Square reveals an impressive building with a massive tower of fine proportions completed during the 15th century. The real beauty of the place, however, is in the quality of its furnishings and owes much to the careful restoration of the interior carried out in the early part of the 20th century.
Christian people have worshipped God on this site for over 1000 years. Today, the people of Elham gather here every Sunday to worship in many ways, from the traditional Holy Communion, to the family-orientated Café Church. All ages are welcome to our services and we have a children's corner where they can play.
Members of the community join together in the church for events other than worship, such as concerts and markets.
We maintain our church as the living centre of our own Christian life and worship, and we also seek to hand on to succeeding generations not only the building, but also the living faith symbolised by it.