First of all – How do I get into the Church / Centre?!
From the lych gate (London Road) entrance, walk down the side of the church and:
- for the church: enter through the Porch and big main door (just come on in – you won’t disturb us, whatever’s going on)
- for the centre: go round behind the tower and enter through the door by the stairs centre
From the entrance by Merton College, just enter by the Church Centre as usual. If you’re late on Sunday and that entrance is closed (for safeguarding reasons) then go around the back of the Centre to the Church Porch entrance.
From March to September this year the big window at the end of the building that you face when you sit in church is going to be restored – both the glass and the stonework. When it is finished it will be ‘double glazed’ with clear external glass for protection as well as new metal grilles. Scaffolding will be put in place inside the building and outside, the glass will be removed and taken to Holy Well Glass for restoration, and the stonework will be renovated. We will have some further repair work done to stonework in other places around the church building. There will be a temporary stonework studio in place around the back of the church building. The path across the East end of the building (nearest the main road) will be inaccessible – so church access will either be from the College car park side across the churchyard into the Church Centre or from the main road through the lych gate to the old main church door. While the work goes on we will have no access inside the building to the chancel area of the church and alternative arrangements will be made for 9:00am Lord’s Supper services.
How are we paying for it?
The total cost is around £165,000. We are grateful to God that this is completely covered by a gift and a grant. Approximately £125,000 will come from the Ivy Morris bequest, and £40,000 from a grant from the SUEZ Communities Trust Landfill Fund.
Why does it need doing?
“All parts of the painted decoration are in decaying condition” – according to the condition report. Furthermore, as you have probably noticed, the stonework is in a terrible condition with serious erosion and decay. Every five years our church is inspected by a surveyor, and at the last inspection this was a priority matter.
How does it fit with our Mission Aims?
We aim to bring glory to God by helping you to:
“Know ” – Jesus and his love and salvation for yourself;
“Grow ” – in Jesus, and be transformed by His Spirit; and
“Go” – to serve Christ locally, nationally and globally.
We are the stewards of a remarkable historical building that has been the site of the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ for hundreds of years. While the restoration of the window and stonework is very practical it is part of our witness to the local community that we are a thriving Christian Church seeking to make Jesus known. Hopefully it will present opportunities to engage with local people, welcome them into our buildings, and speak with them of our Lord and Saviour.
Is there anything special about the glass?
Much of the lower section is original to the 17th Century rebuild of the church, with the upper ‘dove of the Spirit’ section coming from the 19th Century.
Leonie Seliger ACR of the Canterbury Studios, who produced the condition report for the renovation, comments: “The great rarity of the glazing of the East Window at Morden, together with its unusual subject matter, makes this window deserving of great care, both to ensure its continued survival, and to bring it to the attention of a wider audience.”
It is thought that the 17th Century glass was carried out by Abraham Van Linge, a glass painter from Emden in Germany active in Britain from 1625-41.
What’s with the Double Glazing?
When the restored glass is remounted the experts will put clear laminated glass in the stonework where the stained glass was originally. With the external clear glass in place, the stained-glass windows will be suspended inside on a frame with an air gap allowing for air circulation around the glass.
This is an innovative but practical way of protecting the historical glass from the deterioration that comes through temperature and humidity changes from the weather. The windows will still be visible from the outside, and the renovation work should last much longer.
What’s the detailed programme?
|March 2020||Scaffolding erected|
|March 2020||Glass removed and taken to Studio|
|April – August 2020||Glass renovation in Studio|
|April – August 2020||Stone renovation on site|
|August – September 2020||Glass returned to site|
|September 2020||Scaffolding removed and site returned to normal|
How will it affect services?
God willing, our Sunday services will be able to continue as usual.
If you enter the Churchyard through the lych gate (on London Road) then you’ll have to go into church through the South Porch (the old door).
When we share the Lord’s Supper at the 9:00am service we will be unable to use the usual communion table as that area will be scaffolded over (and carefully protected). We will have to have a temporary communion table in the aisle and administer and receive the bread and wine one by one, standing, from a point in front of the table.
People enquiring about weddings were informed of the proposed work, and no-one has chosen to book a wedding in St Lawrence during this project.
How will it affect use of the Church Centre?
Church Centre activities will not be directly affected by the work. We have allocated two of the Rectory parking spaces (Monday to Friday) for use by the contractors so there will be limited parking available outside the Rectory. The contractors will also be using the toilets and kitchen so you may see some new faces around the building – please make them feel welcome. We are expecting contractors to be on site most days from the start in March until completion in September. There will be a site manager (James) and he will have a temporary office in the Tower on the first floor.
Who should I talk to for more info?
Charles Jeffery is our expert and has been coordinating the project on behalf of St Lawrence’s District Church Council and the Morden Team Parochial Church Council.
David Heath-Whyte (Rector) , Charles Jeffery (Parish Warden), Jason Armstrong (District Warden), February 2020