History – Project 2000

In November 1998 we were faced with a difficult decision. It had become apparent that the Sanctuary floor was showing signs of deterioration. A survey showed that wooden floor had extensive and progressive rot. We were faced with three decisions;

  1. Do nothing and pay a much bigger cost in perhaps 10 to 15 years.
  2. Remove the pews, replace the floor, and replace the pews, keeping the church as it is now.
  3. Remove the pews, replace the floor, and replace the pews with a modern seating arrangement.

On 10th November 1998 the church membership took the decision to refurbish the sanctuary including the removal of the pews, option 3. This however being the most costly option, an estimated project cost of £87,000. Hence Project 2000 was born.

Since early in 1999 we had all been busy raising the required sum of money. Many varied and imaginative fund raising events were tried including:

  • a desert island discs evening
  • a Murder Mystery dinner party for 40
  • a jumble sale
  • smartie tube collecting
  • a garden party
  • the sale of ginger beer
  • a sponsored sleep on water
  • an auction
  • and a car treasure hunt

We had many delays along the way for various reasons, however we were conscious that we had time on our hands and that the design of the building had to be right both for us and future generations.

After many months the work started. On the 7/01/01 we had our last service in the Chapel as it was. The first sign of action was the careful dismantling of the Church Organ. A team of Church members and a local organ expert started the delicate job. The organ, which has been replaced in the new refurbished chapel, was gently dismantled and transported to various places of rest (mainly church members garages). Photo’s below show the dismantling.

The Organ shell
The Organ in pieces!

Next it was time for the pews to be removed. A reclamation firm was given the contract and now the pews are gone. See below.

The pews being taken apart
The pews being taken apart

On 20th March 2001 a time capsule was buried in the new floor, see right photo below. The capsule contained various symbols of our church today, these included a baptismal certificate of one of our longest serving members, a West Somerset Free Press, and some taped services.

The empty chapel
The time capsule being placed into the floor

During the work we held our church services in our church hall, it was a bit cosy, but very friendly.

Below are some thumbnails of photos taken of the sanctuary as it was.

The old church platform
The organ before being refurbished
The old chapel with pews
The old chapel with pews

On Sunday 15th July 2001 the Reverend Gwynne Edwards led our worship back in our church sanctuary. As you can see from the photos below the refurbished building has had quite a transformation.

The new chapel with seats
The new chapel with seats