12 June 2015
The community of Stewton is celebrating this weekend, after a series of projects to restore St Andrew’s church has been completed.
The work, which took five years to complete, included restoration of gravestones, re- establishing and laying the boundary hedge in the churchyard, re-plastering the interior walls and the installation of a toilet facility.
The gravestones were damaged in 2009, when a beech tree fell on them following a storm on Good Friday. Then in 2012 a quinquennial report identified the need to re-plaster the walls of the church.
The major part of the work has been the installation of a toilet facility, which as Revd Robert Mansfield explains, is vital to St Andrew’s development and growth. “The church is the only community building in the village,” said Robert. “When we hosted big events, the lack of a toilet was a problem.”
“So the church began looking for funding to help with the various restoration projects. It took a considerable time wading through the range of possible grant funders but with advice from the Diocese we began to move the project forward. Staff at Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) and East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) were helpful with our applications.”
St Andrew’s managed to secure funding from several sources including, LCC, ELDC, Heritage Lottery Fund, All Churches Trust, Church Extension Fund and TBH Brunner’s Trust among otrher Providers.
The biggest practical support came from members from the congregation. who helped to raise money for the projects and kept costs down by helping with the works.
“It’s amazing,” said Robert. “Whenever we ask for volunteers, people are very generous with their time and skills. We may only be a small village, but we had about 30 people helping us over the time. They all worked tirelessly alongside the professionals to make this project possible.
A special “Just Joyful” service will be held this weekend to celebrate the completion of the renovation works and the opening of the toilet. The event will include food stalls, music, flowers and much more.
“We are very proud of our church,” said Robert “and this weekend will be a celebration of the church building and the wonderful people who helped us restore our building for everyone to use. We have only built a toilet, but this will open the door to so many other community uses for the church. We have already created a website and are hosting a local history group as first steps.”
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