At our Gift Day on Sunday 28th February enough donations and pledges were raised to meet the £606,000 shortfall for the commencement minimum (Phase 1). A further £1m (estimated) will be required to complete the building in its entirety. Phase 1 will provide the church with a watertight shell and kit out all the offices and the worship area (roughly half of the building). This will allow us to move from our current site during 2018, but will restrict the ministries we can offer until the remainder of the building is completed. If you would like to help fund our exciting new build, please donate using the button below, set up a standing order (also below), or consider giving via Gift Aid.
If you can't give financially, you can still help! Give your time or expertise (a list of volunteer roles will be available), and support us in prayer - here is a prayer guide 'Building to Serve' shared with the church:
In the grace of God Whetstone Baptist Church has now outgrown the current church buildings and larger premises are required to effectively carry out our current and future ministries. Therefore, we have acquired a suitable plot of land in the village outright through the generous giving of the church family at Whetstone. We are now in the process of raising the funds for the construction phase, and are already well on our way thanks again to the grace of God and the generous hearts of his people. We are not yet at our target though and we need your help to make this vision a reality, whether by prayer, gift, pledge, sponsorship or community award.
In 2007, the church launched a Building Fund even though, at this time, we had not found a site on which to build. This was followed by a ‘Gift Day’ event and through the generous giving of the church we raised an incredible £550,000. Despite entering a difficult economic time further donations pushed up this total to £770,000 by December 2012, enabling us in 2013 to secure the land needed to build the church.
We estimate that the church build will cost around £3.7m and so an official fund raising team was set up in April 2013. In September 2013 we held our special Gift and Fundraising weekend where the church family was encouraged to bring gifts and pledges towards this target. Once again the church family demonstrated its generosity and commitment to seeing the vision realised, and we are now well on our way to reaching our target. As part of our funding plan, we are also investigating several ways to attract funding through outside organisations and trusts, to complement our own giving.
God has taught us how to be patient and trust in Him for everything we need, through good times and challenging times, yet as we move forward we are seeing our dreams are turning to reality and prayers have clearly been answered as we enter this exciting phase of transition.
At a special church meeting in July 2016, we signed off on a loan which allows us to start building. A site manager has been appointed, and along with the project management team, will be appointing contractors and we'll soon see our new church emerge from the ground.
We are still approximately £1m short of funding to fully finish the building, so please pray that we are able to raise the remainder required so that, at its opening, the whole building will be ready to use.
We will be posting periodic updates on what's happening on-site here, in the pre-service slides and on the church notice sheet each week. Updates will be flagged up on our Facebook page as well. Previous updates here will be archived so you can follow the project from the outset.
Remember the Glulam beams I mentioned in Week 6 update? The manufacturers have been kind enough to send through some photos of the beams as they are being built at their factory. These are two of the five enormous glue laminated wood beams that form the span across the double height worship area. For a sense of scale, look at the paint tin in the bottom left of the photo - and at the far end of the beam, you can see someone working in a blue boiler suit. Backing the lorry onto the site with these on the back is going to be quite a feat... and if you're behind them on the motorway, our apologies, but smile and wave at the driver!
Unfortunately, due to various logistical issues, our programme has had to slip a few weeks. After an on-site meeting between ourselves, the ground works contractors, the steel fabricators and erectors, and the precast concrete suppliers and fixers, a revised plan has been agreed. This discussion had to cover - where the cranes can and can't go, and what they need in place to go where they need to; how far the cranes will reach; what will be in the way and why it can't be; what isn't there but needs to be; which bits need attaching before and after something else gets fixed in place. We're very thankful for Gary's expertise in the fine-tuning in planning that a job of this complexity requires.
With the break in work on site, I managed to get a couple more photos of key elements of the foundations. This long mound of concrete runs down the centre of the building covering pipework which will eventually provide drainage for, ahem, all the toilets and sinks. Yup, this is the business end of the sewerage pipe, the other end of which was punched through the hedge in Week 5.
Right back in Week 1, we had blue crosses appear on the grass - but it wasn't clear at that point what they marked. This blue cross, however, marks the centre point of the outside curve of the main worship area. The two fixings either side half way up the photo are the wall edges to the inset section, and just in front of them will be the platform and where the baptistery will be. This is pretty much the view that you'll get from the lecturn - hard to imagine 500 people in front of you? I promise to take a photo of just that moment!
There's a short hiatus in activity on site before the steel frame arrives. We're taking the time to finish renovating the site cabins, particularly fitting out the site office for use (it's been a drying room up to now). As mentioned last week, there was a sizeable section of hedgerow at the corner of the site that had to be removed to allow the installation of a new sewer to serve the building. Two volunteers from the church heeled in forty bare root hawthorn (and yes, they were very thorny) saplings on Tuesday morning, and with a sprinkle of fertiliser and the rain on Wednesday they should be off to a good start.
Behind the scenes, we're working with the steel erectors and floor slab suppliers to work out where the cranes need to go to reach the extremities of the building. This has been quite a complex task, and there will be at least four positions that the crane will need a level platform preparing. As a result, it is likely that the steel erection will be starting in the second week of April, though it may be a week earlier.
I've not had chance to get to site this week to take a photo of progress - apologies. However, I can tell you that the initial groundworks have been completed, and the site is ready for the steel to arrive and be erected at the beginning of April. Replacement hawthorn hedging has been delivered to patch the hole made by the installation of the new sewer, and 40 bare root plants will be planted on Tuesday morning.
In the meantime, above is a design drawing of all the steelwork that will make up the main framework of our new building. The massive 18 metre long Glulam (glue/laminated wood) beams making up the support for the roof over the worship area are marked in yellow. This huge meccano set includes almost 140 tonnes of steel - that's the equivalent weight of 19 elephants, or 85 average size cars. If it were to be worth its weight in gold, we'd have had to find a cool £5.5 billion. If melted down into one great big lump, it would be 3m x 3m and 2m high - the equivalent volume of 110 baths filled to the brim - or 31,000 large mugs of coffee (or builder's tea).
This is an example of the complexity of designing and constructing a brand new building, and why the process takes so long. Add to that the need for the Glulam beam manufacturers to design the joints between the wood and steel and instruct the steel manufacturers what they need to include, and you can see how the complexities increase! Then throw in the coordination of the concrete slabs arriving for the first floor and the crane positions to allow the frame to be built and the floors inserted...
Aside from our mini-mountain getting a little bigger with the spoil from drainage and utility trenches, there's not much more to see above ground that's changed. Except for the hole in the hedge where a trench had to be dug.
Over the next couple of weeks, the groundworks team will be readying the site for the steel erectors. They'll be making a couple of level pads from which a crane will be working, and moving the spoil heap so that the large beams can be off-loaded.
The steel work is currently being manufactured, and hopefully will be on-site and being put up from week beginning 3rd April. Once the main frame is up, the first floor concrete slabs will be craned in, along with two staircases, after which the remaining steels will be fitted.
Next week, we'll be sharing information on the steelwork, including the design and how much steel is actually going into the build.
There's not much new to see on site this week, as the ground work team have been concentrating on finding all the utilities (some aren't where they ought to be apparently) and getting the preparatory work done for us to be connected to electrics, water and sewerage. In the photo, the red and white cones mark the outside curved wall of the worship area, and the yellow tripod is just about in the middle of the entrance foyer. We're also hard at work behind the scenes, with site meetings, prospective contractor meetings and chasing up the various utility companies for the connections we need. Please continue to pray for our project management team (who meet on Monday evening), our contractors and the community we will be serving from our new building.
Now there's concrete in the trenches, connection points for the steels are evident, and the building footprint is much clearer. The mini-mountain has grown! There's another couple of weeks before the initial phase of ground works is complete, after which the steels will arrive and be erected and we can start to appreciate the size of the new church. Behind the scenes, the massive Glulam beams which will be supporting the roof over the worship area have been ordered and their connections to the steelwork have been designed.
The second week on site sees the appearance of more trenches, and a small mountain developing in the corner of the site - after all, the earth has to go somewhere... Reinforcing steel has arrived, and you can see where it has been dropped into some of the foundation trenches, where it will eventually strengthen the concrete. With the heavy rain in the middle of the week, I imagine that conditions at the bottom of those trenches is somewhat boggy at the moment.
Please continue to pray for favourable weather conditions.
Danaher & Walsh, our ground works contractors, started on site this week. They have scraped back the weeds, marked out the building, and have started to dig the trenches for foundations and pipework. We have arranged for a temporary interim water supply and a standpipe for this was delivered on Thursday. A temporary electricity supply is being arranged, and should be in place within the next few weeks.
Things to be thankful for: access permission from Whittle Estate to use the car park gate while our entrance drive is strengthened, and that the weather conditions have been favourable for the start of the ‘mucky’ digging stage.
Things to pray for: continuing favourable weather conditions; early slots for the supply of temporary electricity and water supplies; that there are no ‘surprises’ under the surface as the foundation trenches continue to be dug out.
There have been Baptists worshipping in Whetstone since as early as the 1600’s and the current church family continues this Christian presence in the village. The current building was built in 1909 as a new building project by those who worshipped literally just down the road at the Old Chapel (1843) in King Street. Through the faithfulness and grace of God the church family has continued to grow to the point where now we have outgrown our current buildings, drawing 300 adults and many young families to Sunday worship each week.
This growth led to the church family starting a dialogue some 10 years ago about new premises, and through church meetings and consultations the decision was made to purchase a piece of land on which to build a new church. This purchase was completed in early 2013. During that period we also had discussions about the design of the church, and having appointed a firm of architects, we now believe that we have designed a building that will meet our current and future needs.
We are now seeking support to raise the finance needed for the construction phase of our vision. We have estimated that approximately £2m is required to build the church and so we would like to invite you to become involved through financial gifts and pledges so that our vision can be realised (contact us HERE for more info).
We are a fellowship of Christians who worship in the village of Whetstone; ordinary people, from all walks of life who are united through our faith in Jesus Christ. We have the same joys and sorrows, cares and concerns that are common to us all. Our vision is to glorify God by the way we live our lives both in the Christian community and the secular world. We have a passion to demonstrate the love of God to all who we meet and to tell them of the life changing power of Jesus Christ.
Our ethos is evangelical and so we seek to remain faithful to the orthodox teaching of Christianity and live lives that reflect that. However, we also aim to make our beliefs accessible, understandable, relevant and available to all. We may be traditional in our beliefs but not always in our practices!
Through working together as a church family, we developed a comprehensive design brief that responded to the needs of the existing and future activities of the church, and to the dreams which church members identified as ways in which the local community could be supported and served.
The design brief addressed areas such as environmental responsibility in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the building; the impact, benefits and services provided for the neighbourhood and community; and the versatility and flexibility of the building to accommodate the many current and future needs and ministries of the church and community. At the heart of this design brief, however, was the unanimous desire for this new building to be a place of worship for all those who love and follow Jesus Christ.
To read the design brief please download our ‘Dreaming the Dream’ prospectus below. If you have any questions or would like some more information please contact us HERE.
Page last updated: 9th February 2017