Another £20,000 trust donation

As well as seeing such generosity at our Heart of the Community gift day this week, we also received news of a donation of £20,000 from the Beatrice Laing Trust.

The Laing Trusts are named after Sir John Laing, a devout Christian who was instrumental in creating the global Laing Construction Group. He set up his first charitable trust in 1922, and the Beatrice Laing Trust, named after his wife, followed in 1952. Its focus is on the relief of poverty and the advancement of the Christian faith, both at home and abroad.

After visiting the site they chose to donate £20,000 towards the cost building our new church and community centre next door to the Old School Rooms in Stoke Gifford.

Trust director, Elizabeth Harley, said “I hope this will be of some encouragement to you and the church membership as a whole as the building work and your fundraising efforts continue”.

We are extremely grateful for their support of our vision to make a difference in this community and beyond. 

Local media splash as building begins

We marked the start of building work on the new church and community centre this week by inviting local media to a celebratory photo opportunity in the sunshine.

On Tuesday morning a gang of junior builders from St Michael’s Pre-school and Nursery put on their hard hats and high-vis jackets to watch the action at the site, and pose for the cameras.

The professionals from Bray and Slaughter – our appointed building contractors – were extremely hospitable, and choreographed a splendid photo-call complete with diggers and rubble. The story was covered by BBC Bristol, the Bristol Post and others. We were on the front page of the Bristol Observer and more detailed coverage is planned for the forthcoming edition of Little Stoke Matters too.

Once the photographers had finished snapping and the little ones were safely back at Pre-school and Nursery, work continued apace on the site, in preparation for the first stages of construction in the months ahead. What a scoop.

Heart of the Community is go

Building work started this week on the first phase of the Heart of the Community project. Praise God! 

The story so far

The project is part of the vision of St Michael’s – Living to Make a Difference. Our desire is to share what God has given us with others in the local area and the wider region as part of our ongoing commitment to serve the community in which God has placed us. It is the way that we believe God has called our growing church to meet the needs of our growing community.

Some have been dreaming and praying about this for over 20 years. Others have been working towards it for the last 5 years. Many more have got involved recently. We’ve seen God’s guiding hand and miraculous provision each step of the way: from acquiring the land in the first place, to being granted planning permission at the first attempt, to the incredible generosity of the congregation in giving or pledging over £2m last May.

The phases

Over the next 12 months, Bristol-based contractor Bray and Slaughter will be building the full shell of the new church and community centre on the derelict site of the Old Barns. This first phase also includes provision of church toilets and some useable space in the new centre.

The next phases of the HOTC project will be the complete fit-out of the church and community centre, including a 600 seat auditorium; the refurbishment of the church; and upgrading the Old School Rooms. We have also committed to give 10% of the money given and raised by the congregation to similar building projects overseas and the Mission Action Group have already given £20,000 for a church and community centre in Moldova and a girl’s dormitory in India.

Please pray with thanksgiving for 

God’s continuing favour

The safety of all involved

Minimum disruption to our neighbours

A quick completion of the shell

The remaining funds (another £1m by Autumn 2014, £5.5m in total)

Play your part

Everyone is invited to play their part. Visit the website for the most up to date details of the project and to find out ways to get involved in giving, fundraising and praying. Watch out for more opportunities in the Autumn!