DAC building award
We are very pleased to announce that St Laurence Church has been awarded the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches 2016 Annual Award in recognition of our new building works and facilities. 
The photo on the right shows Rev Frank Gimson, Team Rector, and Ken Parsons, churchwarden, with the award. 
The Building Project Is Finished! 
On the afternoon of Sunday 4th September 2016 we celebrated the completion of the new facilities in St Laurence Church. These include toilets, an office, meeting room, catering facilities and storage cupboards. The Chancel now has a dais to enhance both worship and other events such as concerts and drama. There are also new doors on the south side entrance. All this work has been completed without losing the integrity of a Grade 1 listed building. The enhanced facilities are a reminder that the Parish Church is available to all those who wish to use it. 
Our thanks go to the architects, contractors and the contractor's foreman for their excellent work in getting us to this point - and to all those church members who contributed along the way, especially our churchwarden Ken Parsons, ably supported by his wife (and our Parish Administrator) Jo, who gave so unstintingly of their time. 
Below are some photos of the work in progress, the completed facilities and the celebrations. 
As we have installed new toilets, we thought it would be great if we could help others in impoverished parts of the world to have improved sanitation. So, at our celebrations on 4th September, we asked for donations to a charity aptly named Toilet Twinning. By the end of the afternoon we had collected over £500 which meant we were able to sponsor 2 toilet blocks for two different schools. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful sum: the new facilities and Downton people have immediately made a difference to other people's lives.  
Below are the two certificates showing where our twinned toilets are. 
Toilet twinning
Toilet twinning
Background to the building project. 
The sale of the church hall in 2015 allowed us to make some major alterations to the inside of the church. This has meant moving the font to allow the installation of an office, toilets and a meeting room at the rear. A dais at the front of the nave (the main part of the church) has also been installed so that it can be used not only for worship but also musical and other performances. 
What is the aim? 
The aim is to make St Laurence Church a communal space usable for a broader range of activities by the wider Downton community. 
The pictures below show the work progressing. 
Moving the font
Before Easter the font and two memorials were moved from the rear of the church to alternative positions. 
Moving the memorials
Font in its new position
The font in its new position - and decorated ready for Easter. 
Font at Easter
Laying the pipes
Laying the pipes (left) 
The rooms at the back of church beginning to take shape (right) 
Rooms taking shape
The construction of the dais has been fascinating to watch. It is nearly complete, and when finished there will be a removable rail round the edge. 
The office (left) and the servery (right) are also progressing well.  
We are looking forward to being able to use them very soon! 
September 2016 - The Building Project is Finished! 
The new servery
The servery 
The back of church, set up ready for the celebrations on 4th September (showing the outside of the  
meeting room) 
Our celebration cake! 
The meeting room
The meeting room, which is also being used for Sunday School 
Cutting the cake
Fay Dobson, our oldest Church member, cutting the celebration cake 
The dais
The finished dais 
Frank Gimson, Vicar, and  
Ken Parsons, Churchwarden,  
at the celebrations on  
4th September 
Blessing the new facilities
Blessing the new facilities 
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