Projects & Appeals 2022
1. Cabin in the Churchyard
We need to raise around £3k to replace the temporary gazebo located on our Kitchen patio with a new wooden structure (4 metres by 3 metres) for events and outdoor refreshments.
2. Re-wiring, audio and projection in Church
St Mary’s Church Thorpe Audio, Visual & Electrical Project (upgrade) 2022
Our Mission at St Mary's is that everyone should always be included in the worship, life, and fellowship of our Church Family. But the PCC are increasingly aware that younger generations of people engage with the world utilising technology in a way that we have hitherto not. Also, we wish our beautiful church building to be fully accessible to the community of Thorpe, local schools, Deanery of Runnymede, and Diocese of Guildford and that means improved technology, including a screen and projection equipment fitted inside St Mary’s. We recognise that a screen and projection are controversial, and nobody denies this. But not having these facilities in the 21st century is a limitation on our mission and use of the building. Covid has taught us all a lot about the need for this change.
The project would see the latest available LED technology installed, projecting where possible onto walls, so the equipment has little, if any impact upon the beauty and simplicity of St Mary's medieval building, with one drop down screen located in front of the Normal Arch. The proposal is both sympathetic to the existing building while flexible, that the equipment could be used for various services and events, from lectures to film presentations, Funeral Eulogies, to School services and concerts, among others. The PCC have spent several years working on this plan, including meeting various contractors, obtaining quotes and we have offered the scheme to God in prayer. This project was debated at the 2021 APCM, and the PCC took away the concerns about the appearance of the drop-down screen and updated plans for the location, size, and appearance to the housing, accordingly, taking advice from Heritage England whose representative was present at the DAC visit.
Father Damian, the Churchwardens and leadership team are very aware that not everyone within the congregation support the screen aspect of this project. This is partly because there is an association with screens and a different style of worship, which is not the tradition at St Mary's. We are absolutely committed to our Anglo-Catholic tradition and there are no plans to use projection for the singing on Sunday at 8am or 10am or Festivals. However, projection could be used for Family Services and more contemporary worship where they would provide a real support to families with children, liberating them for books and papers. Indeed, the PCC is mindful of our work to achieve a Silver Eco-Church award, reducing use of paper where possible, as well as electricity use being reduced by using updated sound equipment with a lower energy consumption. However, The PCC are committed to always providing a printed alternative to the screen when possible.
We chose DM Music as our preferred contractor. In July 2021 we invested £4.5k including new microphones and a replacement Loop Amp to improve sound for the hard of hearing. We have now raised £26k+ of the total cost of £40k+ with £14k still to go. During 2022 we hope to complete this exciting scheme of works including a new drop-down screen above the Norman Arch for projection, along with digital projection on walls in various places in a technology upgrade, a new live-streaming camera and further sound system enhancements, especially around live-streaming equipment. An important part of this work is a significant investment in re-wiring inside the Church, including works to upgrade the earthing (Rutherwyke Room, boiler house and Church) and fuse board, making our electrical installation the safest possible for a building of our heritage. We also plan a new light above the children's comer and replacement fitting in the Porch, along with illuminated emergency exit signs above the porch doors. This project has moved to the petition stage, having been given unanimous support in votes by Thorpe PCC in January 2020, July 2021, November 2021 and most recently on Monday 17th January 2022.
Costs on this project may well increase due to a global shortage of certain electrical resources and may require the PCC to consider a pared-down version of the scheme with less projection and no new sound desk, but this is being held in review. All quotations received reflect this uncertainty. But we are so thankful for the very generous donations already received. We hope this display will help inform our decision making. Do talk to us and any members of the PCC and share your ideas, concerns, and thoughts. What you think and feel really matters to us. Donations in support of this work would be greatly appreciated.
Vicar & Churchwardens, February 2022
You can view aspects of this project by clicking the buttons below.
Project Summary: The aim of this project is to provide the very latest methods of relaying our beautiful worship to as many people as possible using technology while also saving energy use and we seek to increase engagement from a younger group of people who find visual technology more helpful. This is not about changing our church tradition, rather helping our congregations, our local schools and community access the treasures we have already, while also improving the reliability of our equipment.
In 2018 our existing sound system was fully inspected and serviced and this raised a number of issues including the lack of digital capacity. During 2019/2020 Thorpe PCC interviewed three AV providers, all recommended by Guildford Diocese. Of these we have chosen to work with DM, a specialist sound and visual firm who understand historic buildings and have worked with the team in providing solutions to enhance our offering while keeping the technology used discreet and reducing our energy consumption.
Then the pandemic hit. All services were moved online, at first delivered from the Vicarage study and the homes of our clergy team. Later we moved back into church and soon realised we were asking too much of our 30 year old sound equipment. We also found our rather temporary internet connection via St Mary's Vicarage was not reliable enough for a prolonged period of live streaming services. So, this project took on new meaning as we added live streaming of services to this plan. To date we have worked hard with what we have got and a range of temporary improvements, but technical challenges persist, so Thorpe PCC voted unanimously (March 2021) to proceed with a faculty application via Guildford Diocesan Advisory Committee, to see major enhancements as we desire to find solutions that will meet our 21st century digital needs, including our determination to continue live streaming the Sunday Eucharist, indefinitely. In April 2021 we hope to install telephone and internet services directly into the Church building for the first time in our 1000 year history, which will take us a step closer to improving our offering. However, the most significant cost is the upgrade of our sound system. We need a new digital mixing desk and control facilities, radio microphones and links to our existing speakers indoors and outside. In addition, we would like to introduce one screen (set under the Rood, above the Norman Arch to be enclosed in a black casing and motorised so not visible when up inside the casing) along with LED projection in several locations, mounted high up on the black beams around the church building to allow for images to be projected onto the screen and four other existing walls. We also hope to mount a live-streaming camera under the central nave chandelier so the temporary equipment can be moved to open back up the centre of the Nave.
We anticipate the enhanced AV technology will have many uses, from regular worship and Family Services to conferencing, away days and special services, Civic events and School use - among others. One suggestion is the setting-up of a monthly Film Club. Most of all, we hope that bringing St Mary's presentation into the 21st century will allow more people of all ages to engage in God's Word and Sacrament - offering the very best of who we are back to God from whom all good things come.
This project includes a significant enhancement to our electrical system, introducing RCD's to the fuse box for all circuits, new wiring to the boiler house, additional safety with new earthing and supply feeds to the proposed projectors and enhanced sound system and additional lighting above the children's corner. This essential electrical work accounts for nearly 1/4 of the total project cost but will improve our electrical system and the safety of all in church.
In January 2021 Thorpe PCC applied to the Culture Recovery Fund for a grant towards the cost of this project but sadly we were not successful. We then applied to the Marshalls Charity, which pledged £3k towards the total cost of the essential electrical works. We can draw-down upon this grant when we have received the faculty.
In April 2021 a phone line with broadband capability was installed directly into St Mary's Church with Archdeacon's permission, entering the building via the Victorian Sacristy, and running around the chancel, then via the Link to the Rutherwyke Room and Parish Office (Wallace Room). This is the first time St Mary's Church has had a landline and an essential component of our H&S policy. The new broadband has dramatically improved the stability of our online live streaming of services to Facebook and our own website.
In July 2021 the PCC spent $4.5k replacing all the existing microphones, on a 'like for like' basis except the replacement packs now have a charging port in the sacristy which is much safer and more reliable than before. These replaced equipment that was over 25 years old and intermittent. At the same time the LOOP was tested and the amplifier replaced, to ensure reliability, which has been a real benefit to many. This new equipment uses less electricity than before so has contributed towards our desire to be carbon neutral. Indeed, we now only use renewable electricity provided by Total Energy under the Parish Buying Green Energy Scheme. These enhancements have reduced the overall cost of the AV and Electrical project and brought considerable enhancement to worship and reliability of sound when live-streaming. DM Music now have the contract to maintain our sound installation and have provided quotations for the replacement and enhancement of equipment required:
Streaming upgrade cost - between £1k and £7.5k (plus VAT).
Console & audio upgrade including new housing - between £9.5k and £13.5k (plus VAT).
LED Projectors - between £2970 and £3120 (plus VAT) with 5 required.
Total installation £8.5k (plus VAT). All cables following the existing cable runs for Audio.
Working from a moveable tower. Lead time up to 6 months.
In October 2021 we received a legacy of £20k towards this project. At January 2022 we have raised 26K towards the estimated £40k cost of this scheme.
If you would like to make a donation in support of this project, please use the donate button below, or send cheques (made payable to Thorpe PCC) to: The Parish Office, St Mary's Church Thorpe, Church Approach, Thorpe Village, Egham, Surrey, TW20 8TQ. Thank you and do get in touch with your ideas, thoughts and suggestions.
3. Quinquennial Inspection of St Mary's August 2022
Thorpe PCC have appointed Nye Saunders Architects to complete the 5 yearly inspection of all our buildings in August 2022. The report produced will help us set priorities for maintenance and major works over the coming 5 years. We anticipate that could include some significant roofing repairs. The report will cost around £1.5k.