Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the proposed changes to the building?
    We seek to realise a church building that is flexible and welcoming, allowing different types of worship and events to better serve our growing modern community; accessible and open to all people, regardless of need or ability; and above all an inspiring holy place, inspiring prayer and reflection and continuing our most important role as a home of Christian worship for over 800 years.
  2. Why is this project necessary given that there is The Cornerstone, a modern centre, next to the church?
    The Cornerstone is different. It is a busy community hub with limited spare capacity and often full. The town is getting bigger and more facilities are needed. This project will offer complementary spaces of a different kind, including a spacious area for both worship and larger community events.
  3. What impact would the refurbishment have on existing worship? 
     It does not need to affect the character of services and current worship will continue in the familiar format. However, the refurbishment will allow opportunities for other formats as well, for example worship in the round, café worship, "Messy Church" and more room for meditative worship in separate smaller spaces.
  4. Is a primary motive for this to make All Saints a concert venue?
    No. Concerts are just one of the community events that take place in the building that will benefit from the improved facilities designed to enhance worship. 
  5. Won't the church building become a place of entertainment rather than a place of prayer?
    No. This is not the intention of this project. The prime objective is always to protect the Church’s integrity as a holy place and ensuring it remains a home for Christian worship. 
  6. Will there be any restrictions on what the church can be used for?
    Most things will be acceptable but there will inevitably need to be some restrictions as is the case in any church building.
  7. Part of our vision is to be accessible to all; how is this reflected in the plans?
    The plans include permanent access for wheelchairs and buggies; improving the approach to the West door; a WC which is accessible for wheelchair users without leaving the building; a new lighting system and a sound reinforcement system with hearing loop.
  8. Will the changes increase the numbers attending church services? 
    Not on their own, but they will make it easier to do things that will - for example, better resource for young people's worship and good facilities for schools. Other churches that have made similar changes report increased numbers at services.
  9. Why should we have toilets and a kitchen in the church? 
     These meet the priorities of welcome and accessibility. A public building without integral toilet facilities is not acceptable today. Families with babies and young children and others with mobility issues cannot be expected to cross the churchyard in all weathers. A simple kitchen and servery within the building enables the church to offer hospitality and ensures full use of the Cornerstone facility is not impeded by the needs of events in the church building.
  10. Will we be keeping the pews?
    No, these will be replaced with suitable chairs to allow more flexibility.
  11. Won't chairs be uncomfortable?
    Chairs will not be plastic ones as currently used when extra seats are required. They are unlikely to be padded but will be more comfortable than the current pews. 
  12. How will there be enough seating if we take out the pews?
    For adults, pews take up more space per person than chairs. For children the opposite is true. Children may sit on the floor, for example at school services. Moveable benches may be used for gatherings of larger numbers of children. There should be at least 400 seats in any of the options whilst the diversity of layouts may allow for increased numbers to meet exceptional demand.
  13. Will we be retaining pews in the Lady Chapel?  
    A small number of the existing pews may be retained as a record of part of the church’s history. The Lady chapel has been suggested as a possible location, but no final decision has yet been made about where they will be located. 
  14. How do we know how many seats will be required in future?
      The projected usage is based on usage in the past and limited by the physical size of the building, but by using more flexible seating it will be easier to meet changing demands. 
  15. Surely churches have always had pews?
    Not at all. This is a myth! To find out more see Su McArthur's article here
  16. Will there still be kneelers for those who use them to pray? 
     One can usually incorporate these in a seating plan based on chairs.
  17. Why is there nothing about lighting or the organ?
    Neither of these is dependent on the layout of the building and will be incorporated into the final design.
  18. Why is there no specific reference to places for children? 
    The aim is for flexibility not a dedicated space.
  19. Can the carpet in the chancel be removed for better acoustics? 
    Yes, the carpet will be removed as will the current fixed platform. There are lots of options on floor finishes
  20. Does the pulpit stay where it is?
    Yes, in the plan presented here.
  21. Will a dais be needed?
    Yes, there will be a dais, but it will be moveable.
  22. Where will the communion rail be sited? 
    Like the dais, the communion rail will be moveable. The fixed communion rails at the high altar will remain in situ, so there will always be a fixed communion rail in church.
  23. Can pipes be reused from the old heating? 
    Unlikely that the pipes can be re-used but the trenches may be re-used.
  1. Can the pillars be painted, they do not look good?
    Yes, though because of the substance of the pillars, ordinary emulsion paint would not be used.
  2. Won't the pillars still be in the way?
    Yes, but they can be made to look beautiful and a feature, after redecoration and with good lighting. Use of unobtrusive tv screens will allow obstructed views to be overcome where necessary. 
  3. Will screens replace hymns books and printed material at the church services?
    Not completely. Screens may work alongside printed booklets. Many churches have found the use of screens gives greater flexibility and a larger range of material that can be used in services. A screen is used already at Family Services to display song words and images, saving costs in paper and printing. Service sheets and hymn books will not be banned! Some may want to take advantage of the lower cost and reduced carbon footprint which screens offer. 
  4. If you are going to refurbish to produce a youth-centric church, where will the older people fit in? 
     There is absolutely no intention to exclude or marginalise older worshippers. The project aims to increase the comfort, flexibility of use and accessibility of the building. This will benefit all age groups in the community and increase opportunities both for youth and for older people too.
  5. Where will the money come from?
    The church has about £220,000 on deposit from legacies but the majority of the funding will come from grants. Of course, we certainly hope that there will be many local people who will be inspired by the vision and want to contribute.
  6. How will money be raised for church building work when it's hard enough to raise money to run the church week by week? 
     Grants that are available for church and historic building renovation projects are very different from funds that are available for running costs.
  7. How does this contribute to the church's mission to help the poor? 
     It makes the building more accessible to all sectors of the whole community and enables a wider range of socially supportive activities in addition to traditional worship. 
  8. Won't a refurbished church cost more to run?
    More efficient heating and lighting should mean it costs less to run. The building will be in use more than it is now, and in some cases, this will also be increasing income. 
  9. Will everything be done at once?
    Not necessarily but some of the larger renovation work will require the church to be closed for a time. To restrict this to a minimum a single coherent plan is necessary, and then it may be possible to undertake particular work packages in isolation or concurrently as funds become available or to meet particular needs. 
  10. Will the church be unavailable during the refurbishment work?  
    Disruption to the normal working of the church will be kept to a minimum but there will be a period of approximately 7 months when we will not be able to use the church building. During that time, our regular services will continue as far as possible, but in different locations. For example, all the Sunday services can be held in The Cornerstone. 
  11. Will any of the existing graves need to be moved as a result of the building work?
      A small number of older tombs may have to be moved.  Every effort will be made to locate and contact the families of those who are buried there. 
  12. What will happen to the graves that will be under the new parish room?  
    We have identified twelve graves that will be affected by either the Parish Room or the link corridor. All but two of them are more than 100 years old.
    We are currently in the process of photographing and listing the details of those memorials. We will then seek permission from either the erector of the memorial or heirs of the person commemorated. This will be through correspondence or advertising in the local paper. We will also need a Faculty from the Oxford Diocese.
    The foundations for the Parish Room will be built on top of the ground using a floating slab technique so that the remains themselves will not be disturbed. The memorial stones will be moved to another area of the All Saints churchyard.
  13. Will there be coffee facilities in the refurbished church? 
     There will be a servery where refreshments could be prepared at certain times.
  14. Are there not enough café facilities in Wokingham already? 
     The café facility would only be operating at certain times. This would provide a facility for the immediate local community and visitors to the church.
  15. Where will the altar be located? 
     he main altar will not be moved and will remain at the East end of the church.
  16. How many people will the Parish Room seat?  
    It should be able to seat around 40 people, which will make it suitable for small, informal worship groups, church meetings… etc.
  17. Would it make sense to complete the Parish Room first and then move on to the main building? 
    This is one possible option under consideration.  
  18. Will the approach to the west door be improved? 
     he existing cobblestone walkway is to be replaced by a more even surface thus making it easier to walk on. In addition, a new door is proposed on the north side of the building with level access to make it accessible for wheelchair and pushchair users. 
  19. Will the refurbished building offer any new employment opportunities? 
    Employment opportunities may include caretaking, cleaning, furniture moving etc. Through the additional use opportunities it will create, demand will be stimulated locally for the services of professional event organisers, conference managers, printers, caterers etc.
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