The Church of St John the Baptist - Glastonbury, Somerset
The Church of St John the Baptist, GlastonburyThe Church of St John the Baptist, GlastonburyThe Church of St John the Baptist, GlastonburyThe Church of St John the Baptist, Glastonbury

The Building - Future Plans

We have been concerned about the future of our church, both the people and the building, for some time. We have consulted widely with the congregations and with other local people to identify the views held about the church. This led us to develop our Mission Statement & Aims to guide our way forward.

View of the Main Aisle - click for enlargementSt John's Church was originally built by the people of Glastonbury for the ordinary people. It consisted of a Holy Space (the Chancel) and a larger empty space for a variety of uses, including a market. This large space is now the body of the church and is mainly filled with rather poor quality pews, installed in the mid 19th century.

Preliminary thoughts on the development of St John's Church

We have been advised that any modifications to our church should be within a long-term plan and not piecemeal. Therefore we have not considered cost at this stage, but rather the needs of the church, to enable us to better deliver our mission statement and aims. In addition, any modifications to the arrangements in the church must be reversible should the needs of future generations prove to be different.

We must emphasise that our thoughts on modifying the church building are not set in stone and many issues are still to be considered. Therefore the computer-generated pictures here (also shown in the Photo Gallery along with some others) can only give an indication of how we envisage the completed work might look. While the drawings are in scale, the materials to be used may look different but will be suited to the existing church building.

Spiritual

During the working week, when the church is open, many visitors want a spiritual space where they may pray, meditate or simply be still for a while. Therefore, we would like to:

  1. Enhance the side chapels to be specific spiritual areas. e.g. Healing Space, Peace Chapel, Memorial Chapel, etc. with an altar or other focus.
  2.  - click for enlargementConsider the sanctuary and central chancel area as a new Lady Chapel, to be used for smaller services such as our mid-week Eucharist.
  3. Reinstate the current Lady Chapel as a distinct chapel, by making it no longer a corridor to the vestry.
  4. Either make the 'Joseph of Arimathea' area (St Catherine's Chapel) a useable chapel or an area for display of artefacts and historical items.
  5. Ensure that the font remains as an important part of our church. Its position will be near the entrances but it will be carefully considered before any decision is made.

Flexibility

We want to have a flexible church to enable us to provide a variety of formats for services and also to allow concerts to continue to be performed here. We also want to make the building useable by the disabled. To do this we would like to:

  1. Replace the pews with chairs and level the floor throughout almost all the building.
  2. The chairs that would normally be kept out, to be substantial and able to hold both kneeler and books/leaflets.
  3. Provide light-weight but comfortable additional stacking chairs that could be stored except when needed.
  4. Move the pulpit back to its original position (one pillar to the east), level with the existing chancel step.
  5.  - click for enlargementHave a moveable Main Altar to allow worship traditionally or 'in the round'. This also allows for moving it to the east end for concerts etc..
  6. Have a moveable organ console and a small choir section, also moveable.
  7. Place all pipe-work and cabling under the new floor and provide for under-floor heating.
  8. Ensure that the 'Loop' system covers the whole church.

Community

We feel that we should modify the west end of the building to accommodate both church needs and those of visitors. There is a need for office space for both clergy and parish business and we would also like to provide rooms for small group meetings and a display area. We would, therefore, like to:

  1. Add an inner porch to the Tower (West) Door. This to be glass to allow for the magnificent view down the length of the church to the East window.
  2.  - click for enlargementAdd a similar porch to replace the existing porch on the south door. This to be ramped for wheelchair access.
  3. Add a similar porch to the North door (from the school side) also with ramp.
  4. Move the organ works to above the north door. This would provide better sound for services and open up a window currently blocked.
  5. Replace the existing first floor room on the north side and use the space previously occupied by the organ works for meeting rooms. At ground floor level we could maintain a kitchen, to cater for visitors. We would like to provide a visually matching gallery on the south side and to link the two galleries with an open gallery going into the tower area.
  6. The south gallery could be offices or meeting rooms and beneath could be the church shop, children's area and storage.
  7. Use glass (some of it frosted for privacy), where possible, to wall the north and south galleries and the spaces beneath. We would reuse the organ screens to give a visually symmetric view towards the west end. The use of glass would enable the maximum light to continue to come into the church.
  8.  - click for enlargementHave an open plan gallery area in the tower that could be used for meetings and exhibitions or extra seating for larger services. The galleries on each side and the tower area would be at the same level and linked.
  9. Ensure that health and safety is considered by providing two staircases and a platform lift for access to the gallery. This would also allow disabled access.

External

The existing temporary (since 1926) vestry does not fit in with the original church building and is in poor repair. It cannot provide for our many current needs and in addition, the entrance to it is through the Lady Chapel. This means that this chapel cannot be used for worship at present. We would like to provide a new building to accommodate our various needs, with access through the north door. Within this building, we would wish to provide:

  1. A main room for choir practice, choir robes and associated items.
  2. A clergy vestry and necessary storage for robes etc..
  3. A sacristy for servers, their robes, candle stands and thurible etc. and a sink for washing communion items.
  4. Secure storage for church silver.
  5. A flower-arranging area accommodating vases, stands, etc. and a sink for water.
  6. Toilets, including facilities for the disabled.
  7. Storage for chairs, tables and sundry other items.

 - click for enlargementBy providing access through a common corridor, access from the school would continue to be available.

 - click for enlargementAny new building would be in materials and style sympathetic to the existing church and surrounding buildings and have a maintenance-free 'green' roof.

As previously stated, none of the above is set in stone. If you have any constructive comments you would like to make, please contact us. Thank you for your interest in our church.

In our plans for the future, we want to make this larger area more flexible so that, in addition to services, it can be used for a wider range of purposes, as it was originally. However, we also must maintain the items of significance that this important building already has. There are photos of many of these items in our Photo Gallery. Our consultations have taken some time but we have now appointed an architect who is working with us to identify the best way forward. as with so many items, it is a case of 'watch this space'.

Should you wish to support us in this work, please download the 'Support St John's Form' (see Publications), complete it and send it with your contribution to the Parish Office, for the attention of the Treasurer. Alternatively, go to our Online Shop, where you may make a donation through PayPal. Simply indicate the number of pounds amount you wish to give in the 'Quantity' box. If you are a UK tax payer, indicate this in the 'comments' box and we can reclaim the tax you have paid on the amount. Thank you for your interest and support.