changes to Ashford Parish Church - see pictures 4, 5 & 6 to
discover what the petitioners (those promoting the project)
desire to do to our lovely mediaeval church:
1a, b, c.: From left, Church interior about 1900 (note the gas lamps) the 1930's and the 1970's - before any clutter began to appear and when the front pews ran right up to the lectern/pulpit. Dignified & beautiful, well-equipped for reverent Anglo-Catholic worship
2 & 3. 2009 - here the church is looking cluttered. The horrible Nave Altar was added in 1999 on a temporary licence. The banners are tacky and out of keeping and the Lectern has disappeared (obscured from view at the right hand side)
The right hand picture also shows the horrible lighting gantry which has been 'up' constantly for several months now, and just about puts the 'tin lid' on any aesthetic beauty.
N.B. None of the foregoing pictures have any indication of being Copyright; thus they are here reproduced as being of interest to the general public. It is presumed that they were created by the Architects responsible for this project.
4. Well, this is what those leading this project want your Parish Church to look like in a couple of years time. Is this really 'in sympathy' with the building as seems to be claimed???
5. This seems to be a flashy diagram from above of the schedule of works as they wish to complete them.
6. Here is a rather silly and unconvincing diagram of the three different ways in which it seems to be believed that the church could be used. We find the idea highly unrealistic. Some of my colleagues found great amusement in the differences between church and performance use - "Vestery" (sic) becomes "Green room" (whatever that may be) for performances, "Congregation" becomes "Audience", "Sanctuary" becomes "Stage" and "Welcome" becomes "Foyer"!!!! Of course, the Centrepiece Church in Bank Street would be another church venue, and that doesn't have any pews; it also has a stage alreadyt. But no doubt, that hasn't been considered!
To summarise, it would seem that this project is being promoted strongly by the Diocese of Canterbury, as changing the church in this way will relieve the Diocese of some financial responsibility, and as already stated, they seem to have given up on the idea of growing a large congregation of good Christians (just as well some of us still believe that is possible). There have been few weddings at the church recently; little wonder with all the horrid clutter in the Nave area. If it looked as in the top picture taken in the 1970's it would be far more attractive as a Wedding venue. Help us to preserve this church and put it back to the way it was in the top picture. Please act nowif you care, and send an email or letter of objection. Every objection counts; strength of feeling will win the day. Could you really bear to see your Parish Church destroyed in the ways proposed - the last haven of peace in a town which over the last forty years has been 'raped and pillaged' mainly at the hands of its Borough Council?