The Rev SANDY MATHESON, the vicar of St Paul’s, Sarisbury Green, on his ever-expanding church
WE HAD a problem that might surprise you – our church has been expanding too quickly.
Over the past decade, St Paul’s Church in Sarisbury Green has been growing – and not just for our Sunday services.
Our building is used regularly to host parents and toddlers each Monday in term-time and monthly lunches and afternoon tea for the retired and elderly.
We have Beaver and Cubs groups who visit as part of their My Faith badge work and schools use the building to enhance their RE and as a base when they visit Sarisbury Green.
We also hold concerts and will shortly have our Advent craft and gift fair.
And yes, attendance at our church services has also grown. This is especially true in December when our Christingle, carol and Christmas Eve family services have become so popular we now hold two of each.
With growing numbers, the facilities of our present building quickly became inadequate.
We only have one toilet and that is difficult to access. And we have no proper food preparation and serving facilities.
We also want to find new ways of serving our community that, with our present building, would be very difficult.
So, after four years of planning, we started building an extension to the south side of the church building in July. Great care was taken, as we are in the Sarisbury Green Conservation Area and planning permission was needed from Fareham Borough Council and the Church of England’s planning authority.
Our extension will include new toilets to save both young and old from queuing. We will have commercial-quality kitchen facilities, a small meeting room and larger hall.
The new facilities will help what we are already doing, and enable us to find new ways of serving the community of Sarisbury Green.
Ideas already suggested include a weekly community café and maybe something for the young people of the area.
We’ve kept a photo record of the progress and you can view the first four months in four minutes on YouTube at sarisbury.org.uk/newbuild. Or why not come and see for yourself?
ST PAUL’S CHURCH, Barnes Lane, Sarisbury Green, SO31 7BG
Sunday services: 10.30am: Family Communion
Contact: 01489 557613