|Trinity House - Nailsea|
It was in November 2008, the Diocese of Bath and Wells having decided to sell its Rectory as unsuitable, that the Church Council registered its regret at the parish shrinking its historic footprint at a time when growth was top of the agenda.
At the next meeting it set in action a working party to look at the possibilities of retaining the Old Rectory. There were some high profile resignations from the Church Council at the very idea of undertaking such a project in a recession.
Over the next few months two things became clear. There was a gentle move towards wanting to keep the building and a realisation that we still didn't know quite what we wanted to do with it. But we couldn't do anything with it if we didn't buy it. This tension was at the heart of the plans from then on.
I'll cut to the chase. We believed firmly that if this vision was of God then all we had to do was proceed with it and those he had called to do it he would equip. In January 2010 a gift day produced £200k and further pledges of £380k over ten years. A further gift day last year gave a £100k lump sum and increased that ten year pledge to £400. This enabled us to buy the building, schedule the work and this week receive the completed (OK, almost completed, there's a few bits outstanding) project from the contractors on budget and on schedule.
The amount of money raised is astonishing. Some people have abandoned plans to buy a new car and handed over the money. Some have delayed plans to upgrade their kitchen and donated. Some had cheaper holidays and gave the church the difference. Others took money from savings set aside to buy property of their own one day. There were very few grants received and all the income is being tithed to other projects that are less fortunate financially. We have already given £50k to the town's Tithe Barn renovation and enjoy that building nearby too.
The amount of volunteer time has been amazing. A recently retired architect project manager working for nothing was more than we could have expected. There were many others.
We now have offices, meeting rooms, quiet space, youth rooms and two flats to rent out. And space to meet in when we do the final part of what we call The Trinity Project and modernise our church lounge - The Trinity Centre.
Money is still a struggle. The church has a deficit on its budget for 2012 and not enough money, yet, to finish the project.
But Trinity House looks great. Indeed the moment the builders revealed the newly rendered and painted exterior we all got that wow factor. From 'I wonder if' to 'Here are the keys' in just over three years. God called and God equipped. Can't believe any other version. Please pray for us to use our new asset wisely.