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The Upper Hall/Labyrinth

As you may recall, during Covid, we have been making improvements to various parts of the building, while they were not in regular use.  This included one of the downstairs washrooms, the kitchen, the Advocacy Office…..and the Upper Hall containing the Labyrinth, which has been an epic sized job.

The whole of the Upper Hall – ceilings and walls have been repaired and repainted; a boarded-up window has been opened up and the floor has had more than a makeover.  There has been a LOT of sanding down of the floor, the Labyrinth pattern have been renewed and the whole floor has had its fourth treatment of sealant.  There was a leak from our old radiators, and we are waiting for some new parts but we are almost there and can’t wait to show you and use the space again.

Some rearranging of the pews…

This will probably be best explained in person, but we will be doing some moving around of pews in the Church Sanctuary itself.  During a film shoot, a number of pews were removed and we were able to see what it was like and the effect was rather pleasing – it opened up the space and made more of a feature of the remaining furnishings (walls and stained glass for example). In addition, we are thinking our way through how to organise ourselves in this COVID/post COVID era where we need to pay more attention to how people gather and move around.

The Parish Council discussed this and gave strong encouragement and approval to some changes/experiments and we wanted to share some of them.

The first is to remove the choir stalls (don’t worry, we are storing them) – this will really open up the space and help to address some structural problems we have had for a while. Successive Music Directors have disliked the existing arrangement for singers, given they don’t face the musician or congregation.  The stalls have prevented performers using that space for concerts and the like and with COVID still a reality – creating distance between performers and audience is a good thing.  In addition, it will create a more flexible worship space for more intimate gatherings.  This is a bit of an experiment, so we are not making any permanent changes but to see if these changes work.  However, from these pictures, you can see that even the removal of the pews, frees up a lot of floor space.

The second change for now is to remove a column of pews (the south side nearest the ramp entrance) to better facilitate the use of the church sanctuary as a social space this year.  Again, these pews are being relocated as a temporary measure, but one of the challenges we face is the number of stairs we have at St Paul’s to get to our existing social spaces – this really feels quite excluding, particularly if you have mobility issues.  Now, while we have a lift for those in wheelchairs, this is not an attractive option for most.  Of course, COVID related guidance also encourages the use of more airy and better ventilated spaces. So, we want to create an inclusive space for coffee hours and social outreach which we would like to develop for and with our neighbours and enjoy our beautiful heritage building.

There is lots going on at St Paul’s as we reopen in the Fall, but we thought these items might be of interest.  If you have any questions please do speak to the Wardens, Clergy or Parish Council members.