Proposals for reshaping of church open for discussion

Conceptual drawings of how St Joseph’s may be reshaped are now on display at the church prior to a presentation by the architect of his proposals.

For seven years, through a process of wide and prolonged consultation, the parish community has been exploring how best to reshape our buildings to better reflect a church that is open to the world like a “field hospital”. Short of demolishing the existing buildings – the cost would be prohibitive – we have to act within the constraints of the present plant.

The following principles governed our consideration:

  • Re-order our liturgical space in accord with the Church guidance.
  • Increase seating capacity of the church to gather the community at fewer Masses.
  • Create a larger gathering space (foyer) linking with easy movement the worship space, the social/catechetical space, and access to the car park and Plaistow Lane.
  • Re-order the parish centre for parish and wider community use.
  • Be realistic but ambitious about cost factors.

Until approximately 1975, the baptism font was located at the back of the church, marking the place where we celebrate our entry into the family of the Church. By signing ourselves with Baptismal water every Sunday we renew again our commitment to Christ and the church’s mission to renew the face of the earth. We want to emphasise this in the new arrangements.

The consultation indicated a deep desire to have free access to come into the church to pray before Jesus in the Tabernacle. The new proposals take account of this as well as offering access to the car part from the lobby.

The conceptual drawings are on display. Architect Brian Quinn will present a three-dimensional view of the proposals on Sunday 4 February at 6pm in the Church Hall.

“We invite the entire parish to this meeting, especially families whose children and grandchildren will inherit this space,” says Fr Tom McHugh. It is decision time and it is important that you be part of it. It is our parish – not mine, his or hers.

“Four generations ago, at the beginning of the 20th century, our fore-bearers, then few in number, built our church. We in our time wish to think not of our security and own comfort but of the needs of future generations, the need of a missionary church in a rapidly changing world.”