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space for all restoration of All Saints Wokingham

After a year of major interior restoration and reordering, All Saints Wokingham has reopened its doors to welcome the local community and congregation.

Prior to restoration, the church was not easily accessible with uneven floors, out-of-date heating and inadequate doorway. The installation of a new glass and steel door with level entry access and level flooring inside now means the church is now accessible to all. In addition, floor ledgers, monuments and the fifteenth-century font have been restored and moved to more accessible locations in the church for people to enjoy. Internal chalk pillars have also been restored and under floor heating installed.

New glass ground level double entrance door at All Saints Church, a verger carries a crucifix into the church with a robed procession of people behind.This new spacious and flexible community space will help meet some of the pressing challenges of the community in the local area will be facing in the next few years, including the cost-of-living crisis and a need to reduce carbon emissions and transport costs. All Saints Church will be providing new local public meeting space open to all every day with a brand-new community café, the Cafe@AllSaints, opening in the new space this summer.

The space will be used for regular worship and community events and as an arts and music venue. The church also plans to publish a leaflet guide to the restored floor ledgers and monuments for visitors to learn about their history and local significance.

The Revd Canon David Hodgson, Rector of All Saints, shares more about the new space:

“Churches have often aspired to offer that open welcoming space for all, yet we have not always been able to realise the vision, because of the inflexibility of our church buildings. The ultimate purpose of the refurbishment was to enhance the life of the community and provide an accessible meeting space, which can offer greater opportunities for people to worship, encounter God and meet one another.

“We are incredibly grateful to all in the congregation and in the parish who have supported the project to create this beautiful and inspiring building. Our prayer going forward is that this space will be a shared community space where everyone feels equally welcome to be here and feel that it is their space.”

New kitchenette sitting below stained glass window in All Saints ChurchThe £1.3m cost of the restoration has been generously supported by local people, the church congregation, private donors and local and national grants. The construction project began in May 2022 but has been 10 years in the making.

The church was officially reopened on 19 June with a special Service of Thanksgiving led by the Bishop of Oxford.

Page last updated: Thursday 22nd June 2023 9:10 AM
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