Changes at church causing concern
A CLEVEDON church could soon be updated to make it more accessible to members of the congregation and the local community.
Leaders at St Andrew’s Church, off Old Church Road, are looking to take out some of the church pews to enable everyone to see the service from all parts of the building.
A few of the pews may also be moved to another part of the building to give the leaders more flexibility and provide more space for the congregation.
But the plans have caused some upset with members of the community who believe the pews are part of the town’s heritage.
Town and district councillor David Shopland said: “This is of great concern to many residents because it’s the oldest church in Clevedon.
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“It’s of Saxon origin and we consider it to be an architectural gem.
“It has all its original pews. We think it would be a travesty and a disaster if they were to be removed.”
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In a letter to the Times, James Herbert, from Clevedon, added: “My concern for St Andrew’s is that its age and situation are such that the pews are its very heritage, they are in fact the very fabric of the building itself.
“I will admit I am not a regular member of the congregation at St Andrew’s but it must be remembered the church serves the whole community.
“Having stood on Wains Hill since the time of the Norman Conquest, it amazes me that the church authorities can deface what is arguably the town’s oldest building.”
Many churches are choosing to replace pews with softer seats and carpets to make the buildings more comfortable for members of the congregation and more accessible to groups keen to use the building for meetings and events.
A spokesman for St Andrew’s Church said: “We don’t feel it will destroy the history of the church. St Andrew’s is an active, living place of worship and has had many changes made to it over the centuries since it was built.
“We would welcome contributions from the community to the ongoing consultation process and we shall be having open days in the New Year so that people can come and view the plans and talk to the project team.”