Our patronal festival is always a great celebration as we call to mind the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom our church is dedicated. Our guest preacher, Canon Paul Thompson, gave us a challenging and thought-provoking sermon, and it was good to build on our links with his own institution of Epsom College, where he is Senior Chaplain and our own Director of Music, Jonathan Holmes, is organist. At the Sung Eucharist, the choir sang Rachmaninov’s Ave Maria from books donated in memory of the late Reg Saunders, former reader of this parish. Festal refreshments were enjoyed afterwards!
Over the refreshments the Vicar updated the congregation on some of the building projects that are in the pipeline.
Firstly, parking. There have been some issues raised with plans to improve church parking which we are seeking to address as quickly as possible. Meanwhile we plan to improve the marking and signage at the churchyard 4 entrance, to ensure those spaces are used to the best advantage by cars parking “neatly”.
Secondly, church loos. We have discussed in various congregation and PCC meetings for a couple of years now the need to improve the church toilet facilities. At the January congregational meeting those who spoke were generally in favour of building in the north west corner of the church. The PCC has also received feedback from some people who preferred other solutions: these were taken very seriously, and all possible options were looked at in detail (which is why the planning has taken so long already!) We appreciate all feedback and admit that no solution is ideal, but we feel we have taken everything into consideration and come up with the best possible. In the end the PCC decided that given the various uses of the church, the north west corner was the best way forward and our architect has now drawn up plans to this effect. The PCC will consider the plans and potentially petition for faculty later this month, and plans will be available for inspection and on our website. Parishioners are very welcome, as always, to give feedback to the PCC before the meeting on 24 September when this decision will be made. The Vicar concluded his presentation by saying he was sure these much-needed improvements will be of benefit to all who use our church.
All of these, and the other projects in the pipeline, are part of the exciting plans we have for St Mary’s. It was very good, on our patronal festival, to be giving thanks to God both for all we have received and also for the plans by which we hope to carry on doing God’s work in Ewell.