St. Mary's Church Wargrave - 21st Century Project

image"We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power and the wonders He has done... that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born."

Psalm 77 verses 4 & 6


John Cook, Vicar of Wargrave and Knowl Hill writes:

100 years ago after a disastrous fire, visionary, Christian people in Wargrave had the faith and courage to rebuild St Mary's - a church fit for the 20th Century. God richly blessed their vision, but now we have a challenge.

Our church building needs to be adapted and extended to welcome in and serve all the people God is bringing to us in the 21st Century. Our continuing focus in this project is excellence without extravagance.

I believe the works planned will be a great resource for our continuing Christian mission and service in our community for generations to come, further consolidating the church's role at the heart of the Parish in the future.

Your help is vital in raising the £500,000 we need.

Please prayerfully consider how you can invest in this great vision as sacrificially and joyfully as you can.        John Cook

imageA message from Bishop of Reading, The Right Reverend Andrew Proud:

“I’m delighted to support and encourage this appeal. Much has already been achieved through the imaginative use of your existing building; may God bless and inspire you as you keep alive your vision of a living, growing, serving church, meeting the needs of the people of Wargrave in the 21st century”.

imageimageBob Austen is leading a small team to coordinate the distribution of information about the Project and the raising the funds needed to make it a reality. Copies of an illustrated Brochure were made widely available at the end of 2013 both within the Church membership of St Mary's, and the wider village and parish community of Wargrave, along with a form for making donations and claiming Gift Aid.  

A revised version of the Brochure, updated for the final plans for the Annexe, is now available (Easter 2016)  and has been widely distributed in the Parish and among other potential donors. Click on the image to download a copy. 

imageA further page deals with the financial aspects of the Project - the costs of the planned developments, and information on how you may make your practical contribution to ensuring that the plans reach fruition. 

The  Project Team can be

Project Description - Phase 1: Internal reordering


First steps were taken in May 2012 when some pews were removed from the rear of the Nave. When the full capacity of the church is needed, stacking chairs are set out. Otherwise, a large area across the rear of the nave offers the space for social gatherings. This now encourages 80-90 people to gather for coffee and fellowship after our main Sunday service. It also enables families and friends to stay on after weddings, funerals and baptisms and for those attending concerts to meet and mix socially after an event. This picture shows the Tea Shop during the Flower Festival in June 2013.

Providing a more comfortable environment

Much of the church radiator system was almost 100 years old and barely provided background heating during winter months. The next step was achieved in July 2012 with modern radiators installed which provide a comfortable environment throughout the year and enable the building to be used more frequently and with much greater flexibility.

Developing a Crèche facility

imageThe Baptistry - the area under the Tower - is now in use as a soundproofed Crèche area.whereimage parents and carers can watch and participate in services whilst their youngsters play in safety and comfort. A glazed screen has been installed in the archway to the Bell Tower to partition the Baptistry from the Nave,  as illustrated on the right.   

To facilitate this the font has been moved to a more practical location at the east end of the south aisle. In conjunction with this move, the main aisle Dais has been extended in front of the Font to provide enhanced space for Baptisms and for the musicians. 

Improving Audio/Visual support facilities for services and public events

The audio system which was installed over 20 years ago, has now been replaced with a more flexible, yet simple to operate system. Permanent visual projection equipment has been installed with two projectors and screens, one for the main nave, and one for the south aisle, and also subsidiary monitors for the Crèche area and for the musicians; a video camera can provide views of the dais area and close ups of the font, the lectern and the pulpit. In conjunction with the enhanced audio components, it is possible to show static images and video in support of the services, and films for Church and social events. The system also has the ability to use a direct wireless link to the Internet. 

Project Description - Phase 2: The Annexe

Aside from the crèche facility in the Baptistry, our other requirements to cater for children’s activities are also demanding. We need to provide age-appropriate teaching for youngsters from the age of five right up to GCSE students. These facilities will help young people explore and grow in their faith and make the transition into the adult congregation in the best possible way. A minimum number of three groups is necessary to cover this range, hence the need on Sundays for at least two separate spaces in the Annexe.

The room will double on weekdays as offices for the clergy/voluntary workers and will offer advantages for mid-week meetings, such as Christianity Explored, that have always had to be squeezed into the facilities currently available. The Annexe will offer the space for small discussion groups where people can talk and pray in a calm and uncrowded environment. Facilities for simple catering needs, as well as the essential toilets will be included. The Hannen Room will continue to be available for similar meetings, both for the Church and for Village activities.


An up to date description of the proposed Annexe external design and internal layout can be seen here along with progress reports on its planning and building.


How are we doing?

1st June 2016:  Phase 1: £160,000 Phase 2: £154,000

After successfully funding Phase 1 (at a cost of about £160,000) there remained £70,000 in the donated funds. To complete Phase 2, a further £330,000 is needed from donations and from external Trust Fund sources.

imageimageClick here for a further page which deals with the financial aspects of the Project - the costs of the planned developments, and information on how you may make your practical contribution to ensuring that the plans reach fruition.