Norwich church reopens after five month refurbishment
A celebration service with the Bishop of Norwich will be held at the Church of St Peter Mancroft on Sunday, May 27, as part of a weekend of events to mark the re-opening of the church after the completion of a major building project to create a more accessible and flexible space.
The Church of St Peter Mancroft in the centre of Norwich will celebrate the completion of a major update to its east end with a weekend of celebrations culminating in a service of thanksgiving with the Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James at 10am on Sunday, May 27.
The church, opposite the Forum, has been closed to worship for the past five months during the £200,000 works to make this medieval city centre building accessible to all and create a flexible space for worship, music, dance and drama. The improvements are not only practical but also visually stunning through the creative use of Stanhope Black limestone to match the existing ledger stones.
As part of the church’s vision to be a welcoming and inspiring place for all, an area has been opened up in the middle of the Nave so that wheelchair users can choose to be amongst the congregation, rather than on the edge. At the east end the new disabled access to the chancel also makes the Jesus and Anne chapels fully accessible with all three areas on the same level.
The children’s area has been moved to the front of the pews on the north side so that children and families can now feel a central part of worship. This move has made space for a new coffee and hospitality area near the north door. And an improved sound system has been fitted to make the church fit to attract more events.
The building works, which have been completed to time and within budget, saw the exciting discovery of some original 12th century foundations of the church as well as the rediscovery of the medieval acoustic trenches below the choir stalls, which were last uncovered in the 1850s.
On Sunday, May 27, as well as the celebratory parish Eucharist, where the Bishop will be confirming and baptising members of the congregation, there will be a flower festival. On Saturday, May 26 the church will open its doors from 10am-1pm to artists and photographers for a free ‘Art in Mancroft’ session and then at 7.30pm the University of London Chamber Choir will perform a programme of sacred and secular music with tickets available on the door.
Rev Canon Ian Bentley, Interim Vicar of St Peter Mancroft, said: “I’d like to thank the people of Norwich for all their patience whilst the work has been carried out, our congregations for their open mindedness about worshipping in different spaces and St Stephen’s Church in Norwich for generously letting us use their church for Evensong.
“As well as allowing us to be more creative and inclusive with our worship, we can now provide a stunning flexible space for music, drama and community events, contributing even more to Norwich’s rich cultural life.
“We were so lucky that the transformation also gave us a chance to glimpse the Norman foundations of the church reminding us that this has been a special place for worship for 1000 years. And now looking to the future we are thrilled that Norwich’s civic church is back in action, accessible to all and better placed than ever before to fulfil God’s mission in the heart of the city.”
All are very welcome to attend the celebratory events. Refreshments will be served in the church after the service.
Photo of Church of St Peter Mancroft courtesy of Simon Knott.