St Mary's Church Nantwich - exterior - pic by Jonathan White

Church leaders in Nantwich are backing a proposal to create a new Visitor Centre at St Mary’s Church.

The PCC says a new centre would replace the existing shop “tucked away off the South porch” which is not readily seen or accessible
for visitors.

And it would create a new cafe facility designed to accommodate more customers.

Now St Mary’s – known as “The Cathedral of South Cheshire” – wants to hear from members of the church and their views on the proposal.

“The PCC has concluded that our facilities are limited and indeed are outdated in respect of today’s changing culture,” said St Mary’s.

“A new visitor centre has been discussed over a number of years.

“St Mary’s seeks to create a warm, welcoming and safe environment for all who enter the church building, especially our visitors, showing the love of the living God through the gift of hospitality.

“The mission is clear, and as a church we have to ensure that our response meets the needs of our local community and those who visit the church from outside the area.”

A new Visitor Centre would include an information point, an area to serve refreshments, a retail outlet for sale of goods, and a facility for an exhibition space.

It would enable the church to open up of the north door.

It would also provide a control point for the sound and vision displays to enhance worship and events.

“The aim is to provide an information point with all the historical literature, guides, visitor book and facility for donations.

“By removing the two back pews of the church on the north side, this will open out the area as a place where people can “gather”.”

The fully equipped refreshment area would include enough seating for 12 visitors in the north west corner of the church.

It’s hoped it will create extra income, improve efficiency in running the church, open up to more seeking support, improve cultural activities among other advantages.

“Staffing is the key element to ensure the success of the enterprise,” the report adds.

“Thirty people will be needed to run the Visitor Centre on opening if each person does one shift.

“It is anticipated that having a more central, open and rejuvenated Visitor Centre will attract additional volunteers.”

You can view the full proposal here.

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