Background to the Project
It was in 1980s and 90s that the clergy and some of the congregation started to seriously consider the benefits that might arise from a review of church assets and the future possibility of refurbishing the church building without destroying its historical character. It had become clear that the uneven floors and outdated inefficient heating did not fulfil health and safety requirements or provide for modern worship.
It took several years for extensive improvement to be considered seriously, but as the 21st century dawned the incentive for change increased and following a formal review of church life in 2008, a group was set up to take the project forward. As the church is a Grade 1 Listed Building it was important to spend time considering various options and finding the best and most sensitive way of adapting the historic building.
After over a decade in the planning, Acting Deputy Chancellor Mark Ruffell granted a faculty and gave directions for the re-ordering works in St Michael's Church in October 2016.
After much discussion and consideration of plans, the necessary consents were granted for work to proceed and the church was closed from May 2018 until March 2019 to enable the modernisation to take place.
The church family was also tasked with the mammoth task of clearing the building of all its contents. It was a great opportunity to have a good sort out and we found enough to fill four skips for disposal and found good homes for many items that were no longer needed.
The church building closed to the public following the Highworth Choral Society's concert on 12th May 2018 and weekly services were held in St Michael's Hall with other events being held in the Hall or St Michael's Church Room.