Posts Tagged ‘Heart of The Community’

Youngsters watch as bulldozers move in to start work on new church and community centre

Posted on Wednesday 31st July 2013 at 1:28 pm by SH (Editor)

Children watch work getting under way at the Old Barns site in Stoke Gifford.

Youngsters from a Stoke Gifford pre-school and nursery took their buckets and spades to watch work begin on a new church and community centre.

The children, from St Michael’s Church Pre-school and Nursery, donned hard hats and hi-vis jackets and took their buckets and spades to see diggers at work on the site of the Old Barns in North Road, Stoke Gifford.

The derelict site is being transformed into a 600-seat auditorium, meeting rooms and other facilities, which will provide much needed conference space for schools, charities and local businesses as well as wedding receptions and other celebrations. It will also serve as a resource for the wider region, within easy access of the M4 and M5 motorways and next door to Bristol Parkway Station.

The contract has been won by Bristol-based building contractor Bray & Slaughter.

The new church and community centre is key to the church’s £5.5m Heart of the Community project, which also includes refurbishing the Old School Rooms adjacent to the Old Barns and renovating the 14th century church, next door to the pre-school and nursery. Ten percent of all money raised by the congregation will be used to fund similar projects overseas.

The congregation has already raised £2 million in one-off donations and pledges over the next five years towards the project. The church plans to raise the rest of the money from fundraising events, grants and the generosity of individual and corporate donors.

More: Church has a long history of serving the local community »

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Open-air service to mark 150 years of serving the community

Posted on Monday 17th June 2013 at 3:46 pm by SH (Editor)

The Village Green, Stoke Gifford

Hundreds of people will be taking part in a special service outside St Michael’s Church, Stoke Gifford at 11am on Sunday (23rd June) to celebrate more than 150 years of serving the community.

The open-air service will take place on The Green (pictured above), mid-way between the church and the former Victorian school room which is now a church and community centre.

The Old School Rooms, which date from 1863, were originally built to house St Michael’s School, at a time when Queen Victoria was on the throne and Stoke Gifford had just a few hundred residents.

The school, which today has more than 580 pupils, moved to new premises in Ratcliffe Drive in 1988 and the old building is used by St Michael’s Church to serve a population of around 12,500.

Hundreds of past and current pupils and their teachers are expected to attend the celebration, which is being hosted by the church and primary school. The service will include songs and stories about school life, Victorian hymns and a prize for anyone who comes in Victorian dress.

In 1988 after serving as Stoke Gifford’s primary school for 125 years the old school building reverted back to St Michael’s Church and has continued to serve the community. The following year a pre-school was launched, which has since expanded and moved to the former Vicarage building.

More: Church’s £5.8 million construction project to start next month »

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‘Family Flicks’ for Heart of the Community

Posted on Tuesday 19th February 2013 at 2:53 pm by Nikki Hallur

St Michael's Heart of the Community project - Church representatives.

St Michael’s Church is continuing its successful ventures in fundraising for its Heart of the Community project, this time by showing a series of films under the title ‘Family Flicks’. The first in this series of films was ‘Madagascar 3’, which was shown this Saturday morning in cinematic fashion. The church only advertised internally for this first film as it did not have a public licence to advertise externally, but many local families came to enjoy the experience at the Old School Rooms in Stoke Gifford. Children and parents enjoyed refreshments such as popcorn, fruit and hot drinks whilst watching the film on a large screen, and entry was based on donations towards the Heart of the Community project.

The Heart of the Community project aims to create a modern church and community centre which can be used by the church and local residents for community activities and for worship. The church has already raised over £2 million through the generosity of its members. Church members are keen for old farm land behind the Old School Rooms to be used for the community. Hilary Field, one of the event organisers, informed us that the old farm buildings were on the brink of being demolished when the church was alerted to the fact and told they had a week to raise the money if they wanted to buy the land.

The Old Schools Rooms, North Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Another one of the event organisers, Christine Rogers, told us that even though the Heart of the Community is about a building, “the building is part of our vision to serve the whole community”. Parents attending the ‘Family Flicks’ event said it was a great idea to engage children on a Saturday morning. The church is planning to hold a number of other fundraising events, such as ‘Jazz on the Green’ as well as a wine tasting and a gourmet food event in its coffee shop. For more information about the Heart of the Community project and St Michael’s Church, visit

Photo: Church representatives Hilary Field, Christine Rogers and Chris Bradley, pictured at the ‘Family Flicks’ event.

Related link: Faith and religion in Stoke Gifford (The Journal)

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St Michael’s Church bucks trend with £5.8 million building project

Posted on Monday 11th February 2013 at 4:46 pm by SH (Editor)

Proposed church and community centre on the Old Barns site, Stoke Gifford.

A village church which dates back to the 14th Century is launching a £5.8m project to build a new multi-purpose church and community centre in Stoke Gifford.

The Heart of the Community project is raising funds to refurbish St Michael’s Church and the former village school – known as the Old School Rooms – at The Green, Stoke Gifford, and build a 600-seat auditorium with meeting rooms and other facilities on the site of the Old Barns in North Road.

The project, which has been described as “audacious” by the Bishop of Bristol, the Right Reverend Mike Hill, is also setting aside a tenth of the project costs to fund similar building projects overseas.

While the number of people in England and Wales recording their religion as “Christian” dropped by 13% between 2001 and 2011, St Michael’s congregation has grown by 70% over the last ten years.

The congregation is now over 300 – and growing – and is too large to fit in the church, forcing the main 10:30am service to start in two separate venues.

Up to 1,000 people a week use the community rooms provided by the church; the Old School Rooms coffee shop serves hundreds of hot meals, snacks and drinks each week and the pre-school and nursery – based in the Old Vicarage – is over subscribed.

More: New centre will provide up-to-date conference facilities »

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