Taking shape before our eyes, here’s a glimpse of what the finished article will look like:

Architect’s impression of the New Look St. Matthew’s

View from the library side (north) – the new roof with slates! Roof slating work now pretty much complete

Internally, the ceiling is, at the time of writing, almost finished.

And below, less visible progress – images of the new ceiling in the church being installed!

“So that’s what a ceiling looks like!!!”

Last week, somewhere in the midst of greenery, slates and scaffolding, this new section of grey wall began to emerge!

This is the beginning of the ‘new wall’ which will make possible the widening of the interior of the church The grey blocks just now are perhaps difficult to see among vegetation and scaffolding, but when the facing brick is put in place, the effect will be spectacular – a mixture of light coloured bricks and glass – watch this space!

Yet more progress to report! The photos shown here give some kind of indication as to what the extension to the building will be like – a new wall is being constructed behind the scaffolding you can see above. Timber work for the roof is being added before the new slates are are put in place. Again, we have been lucky with the weather, but we are very conscious that Fleming Buildings Limited are working so hard to keep the project to timetable. They have done that very well over the three months during which they have been working. Let’s not forget that work is going on inside the building too!

Yes, our church really is hiding behind all that scaffolding!

As well as these very visible aspects of the work, much has been – and is continuing to be – done on less visible but equally important aspects such as repairing drains, updating electrical, gas and water facilities. As we see the external work proceed apace, it’s worth remembering that just as much – and just as important – work goes on which is not so visible

On Monday 1 April, the work officially began! For the past couple of weeks the staff of Fleming Buildings Ltd. have been preparing the site, and now all is ready for the work to begin. After all these years, the project is no longer a dream but is becoming a reality. Thank you to all parishioners and users of the church who have been very understanding when hitches have been encountered and small problems have arisen. These are of course unforeseen, and are to be expected in the early stages of a project like this.

Of course, there will be some things we cannot do during the closure of the church, such as host the children’s liturgy, or have events like fayres and fun days, but I am sure that we will all be enriched by our ‘pilgrimage’ on the way to the return to our church. It will not be possible to leave the hall open from early morning until evening as we had done with the church, so we will open at 9.00 am and close at 11.00 am Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, we will open at 8.30 am and close 30 minutes after the last Mass, or after baptisms when they occur.

Some practical points: now that we will have THREE aisles, there will be no need for the distribution of Holy Communion at the back of the church (or the hall). With the exception of the very few people who cannot make their way to the front of the ‘church’, we will ask people to approach the sanctuary (which is the proper way to receive Holy Communion) by the centre aisle, and to return to their seats by the side aisles. This will take a bit of patience at first, and a wee bit of trial and error until we iron out the problems.

Most importantly, during this period of renewal of our building, let’s pray for a renewal of ourselves.”

Artists’ Impression: The New-Look Interior of St. Matthew’s Church

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