17 May 2021
Marlow Methodists Break New Ground
Often described as a “hidden gem” Marlow Methodist Church will soon be a lot less hidden. Building work has begun to create a community hub and café for the town and transform the existing church facilities. The Spittal Street site already provides meeting spaces for many of the town’s organisations in the Wesley Hall – one of the most popular halls in Marlow – but Church members have identified a need for more modern spaces which can be used by outside organisations, particularly advice agencies.
The café will be situated in a brand new rotunda at the front of the building and will be open five days a week, providing hospitality and meeting spaces. The sanctuary of the church, which has some important Art Nouveau stained glass, will not be changed and Sunday Worship will continue but with Covid restrictions for the time being. Online services were introduced at the beginning of the pandemic and these will continue. Commenting on the plans, Minister and Superintendent of the High Wycombe District of the Methodist Church, Rev Nick Thompson said: “Any building of this age has its needs and over the decades generations have made changes and improved different aspects. Now we have the opportunity to release the potential of the building to help us in our aims to be a people who are ever more outward-looking and welcoming. We would like to give everyone in the local community a building which meets their needs and creates a real sense of belonging.”
Oxford-based architects, Leap Design were commissioned to create a building which would better fit the needs and lifestyles of the 21st Century. One of the biggest challenges was to “connect” the Church with the Wesley Hall and with other rooms, as Lead Architect Kelvin Sampson explains: “A lack of cohesion, limited storage space and inadequate kitchen and toilet facilities meant that the building was under-utilised. Sensitive adaptation of the building will have a profound impact on its usefulness for the Church to further its work and mission in Marlow.”
Project Leader David Duxbury, who has spearheaded the project from its inception three years ago, has dealt with many challenges along the way, not least the arrival of Covid 19 earlier this year: “This is an exciting project and we have seen it develop from the concept stage to the point where building work can begin. Everyone involved has worked very hard, not least the fund-raising team who have made it all possible. We have received many generous grants and donations and we are very grateful to everyone who has helped in this way.”
Mayor of Marlow, Cllr Richard Scott, cut the ribbon at the site and wished the project well saying he was “delighted to be opening such an exciting project ‘for real’ during this Covid period.”
It’s hoped the building will be completed next Spring. Anyone wishing to enquire about hiring space should click here. Progress on the project and details about services can be found on the website: wwwmarlowmethodistchurch.org.uk.