Future of church discussed

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:07 01 August 2010

FUNDING for maintenance and ideas for future improvements to the redundant St Mary's Church at Bungay were discussed at its 28th annual meeting at the community centre.

FUNDING for maintenance and ideas for future improvements to the redundant St Mary's Church at Bungay were discussed at its 28th annual meeting at the community centre.

Martin Evans, who was re-elected chairman, said that talks with the Churches Conservation Trust on what percentage of income would be paid annually by the Friends for the on-going maintenance of the building were nearing conclusion and the meeting gave the committee permission to finalise this agreement.

Mr Evans reported that the complete overhaul of the organ in 2008 had been most successful, with the three summer organ concerts having good audiences. There had been the usual programme of other concerts and exhibitions, plus a special Communion Service, an Animal Blessing Service, the town's Remembrance Service and the annual Star Ceremony to mark the beginning of Advent.

He said a similar programme of events was in line for this year and St. Mary's was proving to be a living venue for town occasions.

The treasurer, Mark Walland, said it had been “a funny old year” financially, with the current economic downturn resulting in a reduction in the worth of the Bowerbank bequest, but with the help of our investment advisor, Peter Morrow, the loss was less than expected.

Mr Walland, who is also the bell-captain, said that the bells continued to bring in a useful income when they were rung for weddings and various town events. However, of the ringing team, only one person was from Bungay and he appealed for anyone interested to come along on the second Monday of the month to try their skills.

Over coffee a general discussion took place about making St. Mary's more user-friendly, when the funds are available, and permission is given by the various bodies who control Grade 1 Listed Buildings. The usual wish-list of heating, loos and kitchen (plus a hearing loop), were all discussed and although they were a little way off, the chairman said there were various smaller schemes which, if instigated, would make St. Mary's better both practically and visually.

A full inventory of the gravestones has just been completed by Trevor French, who hoped to catalogue Holy Trinity and the Cemetery so that a full record of Bungay's interments was available for ancestor- seekers. All those who loved and cared for St. Mary's were thanked for their help during the year in keeping it a splendid building in the centre of an historic town.

The CCT was unable to send a representative to the meeting but members heard several meetings had been held with it during the year on maintenance issues.

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