Thursday, 17 June 2021

Bishop blesses church extension

AN extension at Stoke Row church has been formally blessed by the Bishop of Dorchester.

AN extension at Stoke Row church has been formally blessed by the Bishop of Dorchester.

The Rt Rev Colin Fletcher took part in a service at St John the Evangelist Church in Main Street on Tuesday with Rev Kevin Davies, area dean of Henley.

The service was attended by 20 parishioners and about 80 children from the village primary school.

The children sang Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart, Lord Make Me A Mountain and It?s An Adventure Following Jesus. The extension, which houses a kitchen and disabled toilet, cost about £120,000 and took about six months to build.

The church received a £58,000 grant from South Oxfordshire District Council and £7,500 from the Oxford Historic Churches Trust while the rest of the money came from donations.

Bishop Colin said: ?This all started when someone had an idea about 13 years ago. It was quite a simple idea but it took a huge amount of work.

?It shows if you go through life and have ideas and talk to people about them, you can see them done. If you ever get discouraged about an idea think back to Stoke Row church and school and how that idea became real. It?s a good use of what would otherwise be an unused building for a large chunk of the week.?

The extension comes four years after the interior of the church, which dates back to the 1840s, was renovated.

The pews were removed and new heating was laid under a new wooden sprung floor.

Since then the school has used the church for assemblies, PE lessons and celebrations.

Headteacher Charlotte Harris said: ?This will make a huge difference to us. Previously we have had to bring children over to the church then go back again to go to the toilet.

?We appreciate the amount of work that went into raising the money.?

The church will hold an open day on December 12 from 10am to noon for members of the community to see the new facilities. Refreshments will be available.

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