Case study: your church building as resource for mission and outreach

Case study: your church building as resource for mission and outreach
The Parish of Chigley
Chigley is a medium sized village with a population of just over 3300. It is only five miles
from the large urban centre of Trumpton, to which it is connected by a busy main road and a
good bus service. The ease of access to Trumpton has put many local services in Chigley out
of business; a pub, a post office, a garage, a baker and an off licence remain. There is also a
local library, but it is struggling to survive due to budget cuts. The local high school closed in
2010. There is a private Christian school three miles away for children from preschool age up
to 18.
Population profile
There are 842 families in the village:
- Half have no dependent children,
- 5% have one child aged 0-4,
- 2% one child aged 5-11
- 4% one child aged 12-18.
- 21% have 2+ children 0-4
- 16% have 2+ children 5-11
- 2% have 2+ children 12-18
Economic activity
40 per cent of the villagers work away from Chigley – most in Trumpton, though some
commute to work in the capital, which is 40 miles to the east along a major motorway. 12
per cent are self employed, 13 per cent are retired, 10 per cent stay at home to care for
family. 2 per cent are unemployed
Church activity
75 per cent of the villagers describe themselves as Christian. The electoral roll is 72, and
average Sunday attendance is around 20 people and 1 child. There are six baptisms a year,
three weddings and eleven funerals. Currently there is one weekday service in addition to
Sunday – average attendance at this is also around 20. The church is full for the Christmas
Church Building
St Michael’s is a small brick building with stone
dressings. It will seat 274 people and was built in
1908 by a middle ranking architect. There is a
south porch but no aisles, a good stained glass
east window by Powell and Sons but no other
individual features of note. The fittings are
original. There are no burials in the churchyard.
Though the interior is not elaborate the red brick
and ranks of pews give it a sense of solidity, and
no significant alterations have taken place since it was built. The building is in sound
condition, and is much loved by the villagers even though they don’t visit it regularly.
Imagine you are the incumbent of the parish described in this case study.
1) How would you exploit your church building to reconnect the church with the wider
2) What would you need in order to do this?
3) Are there elements or contents of the building that are of particular historic or
architectural significance and could not be altered?
4) How could you meet your needs without compromising the architectural, historical,
theological, and emotional significance of the building and its contents? What permissions
would you need, and who should you consult?