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Barnes in Common

the magazine of Churches Together in Barnes
November/December 2005


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Methodist Church Reopening

by Wendy Kyrle-Pope


Revd. Veronica Faulks receives the keys of the church
from the architect, David Ensom. Revd. John Cooke, Superintendent of the Circuit, and the Revd. John Swarbrick,
Chair of the London SW District of the Methodist Church, look on

The Barnes Methodist Church reopened on Saturday 10 September, having been closed since the beginning of January. The lovely service of dedication and thanksgiving commenced outside the front doors of the church, where the keys were presented by the architect David Ensom to the Reverend Veronica Faulks. She received them and dedicated "the building to the glory of God and for the use of this community" before handing the keys to Peter Tierney, the site manager for Wallis, who unlocked the door.

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Head, representatives from other churches in Barnes and the London family of Methodist churches, and many others from Barnes and further afield, joined the service and marvelled at the hard work of not just the architect and his team, but the church members and Reverend Faulks herself, who effected this amazing transformation in record time.
And an amazing transformation it is. Built in 1906 in the grand, if rather gloomy, high Victorian style, the original church had an upstairs gallery and a mass of empty space (13 metres) up to its high roof above the main body of the church on the ground floor. However, the original architects must have been prescient as the space they created has been easily adapted a hundred years later to create two separate entities in one.

The downstairs area is for community use, and comprises a hall, a quiet room, meeting rooms, a modern kitchen, offices and lavatories, and an inner courtyard for contemplation. The beautiful church above (with lift access) is complete with a state-of-the-art sound desk and the original organ. Bright colours, imaginative lighting and exquisitely etched new front doors (by Jane Dickinson) welcome all, whether they come to use the community space or the church itself; "may it be a place of peace to all who enter; a fortress against all hatred, envy and pride".

The Minister, Veronica Faulks, is "so excited about what we are now able to offer the community. We would love people to come and see it and use it. The timing is perfect as we celebrate our centenary next year."

The Barnes Methodist Church is the biggest project the architect David Ensom has completed so far. He said there were many challenges, especially in the demolition, but the end result is something to be proud of. His next commission is a brand new church in Hampshire, which will be shared between the local Methodist and Anglican congregations.

What strikes one most about the "new"; church is its brightness and feeling of space. The beamed roof still seems very high (9 metres, according to the architect). The stained glass windows are the same, but now that the church has been lifted up nearer to them, they reveal their true glory.

"Buildings speak" was the theme of the dedication sermon by the Reverend John Swarbrick (Chairman of the London South West District of the Methodist Church) and this one does. The clever and sensitive mix of the old and the new makes the church feel as warm and welcoming as ever, but renewed and flooded with light, and thus, partly because of its literal elevation but mostly because of the joy of its members, closer to God.

CONTENTS:
Pastoral Letter
Music Makers at St Mary's
The Magic of Lourdes
An Act of Kindness
Church News
For Your Diary
Christmas Services
Book Review
Methodist Church Reopening
Stars of Barnes
Impossible Question Time
Caption Competition
Letter to the Editor