There was an 'Open for All' congregational meeting held in the Church on Monday 22nd November 2010. It is with regret due to personal pressing matters, and much needed spare time on other historical buildings within Liverpool, that I have not been able to update this website until now. The Rev Gary Renison, Graham Deacon and Peter Jennings took turns to Chair the meeting as Bill Addy was at a Football match.
We must thank Gary for the use of the Church and the open way that the meeting was conducted although not having worshipped in the Church myself personally for many years, I took a dislike to seeing more video/tv/speakers than my local nighclub. Peter Jennings start the ball rolling by giving out the views of the Church and hoped that the meeting would quash many rumours going around, and to give other technical information which has only come to light, rather than being on the Official website.
Peter spoke of the plans of the proposed plans and gave an overview of the reasons behind the plans and what impact they had on the Church. It would have needed a keen shorthander to have minuited the entire meeting, such of the impact of the Information given (for which we were thankful and grateful for) so I have broken it down in to sections:
Answer: The distance from the lych gate to the current main entrance is approx 35 metres. The distant from the same lych gate to the new Rotunda would be 74 meters.
(Personal note - the gradient is steep enough on both sides of the Church for it to be a problem, especially in the wet weather. There has been a proposed 'new floor' for the graveyard, something which will therefore cover up the original sandstone flags, but more importantly, nothing is mentioned about lighting or hand rails either side of the Church. Where as the current path ways are fairly flat (apart from the centre gate to the Porch which does have a hand rail, there are no plans to have this area lighted. Certainly, one wonders why this has been ommitted when the possible Health and Safety aspects are great. Surely, the new gradient pathway would have to have many lights 'showing the way' especially when coming out of the Church in the pitch black. Will this interfere with the view of the Church from lighting polution? Will these lights be on permanently thus raising the electricity bill? Will hand rails be included alongside the pathway and if so, how would one reach their own grave plot to tend it?
Answer: There will be access via the new extension through a warm and welcoming entrance area into the Church. Access 'at present' will remain an option for Weddings and Funerals. There will also be temporary seating at the rear of the Church where the current Porch door will be closed.
(Personal note - We understand the needs for access points within the Church, but forgetting the grave issue under the Rotunda for the moment, the Porch is an area of great historical value and importance to the Church. From the 'missing' St Peter's niche, to high up in each of the four corners are the heads of the four Evanglists, these alone from the 19th century. From the rough cross brick situated in to the wall to the War Memorial, erected to the many men that gave their lives in the First World war, to the historical Salisbury Chapel, and the 15th century door. Visitors will not be able to pass by the historical boards of past Vicar's, wonder at the lepers window or take in the full view of the Church from the rear.
In short, the warm and welcoming of the new Rotunda is next to the Toilet block!
Where you once pushed open the original heavy door in to the Church, there will be a Fire door to contend with. As a note to the temporary chairs at the rear of the Church, this will be deemed a Fire Risk with essentially blocking up the largest access with Chairs/coats/people (even on a temporary basis) and in the event of such an incident (or where access is needed outside quickly), 50+ chairs/people will have to be moved..
Answer: it is hoped that no graves will be disturbed if we are allowed to use modern techniques. We are intending to span over any existing graves thus avoiding the need to undertake any exhumations. If this plan is deemed unacceptable, our engineers have informed us that the maximum number of graves needing exhumation would be no more than 10.
(Personal note - The whole subject of the graves being moved is only part of the problem. Many people come to Childwall to walk around the Graveyard and see the formation of grave plots over the years in their sections. but more importantly, even if a grave itself is untouched, it then stops any future interments in to that family grave. But the most important situation is that there are recent interments, still in living memory and there are many people who pay their respects at the graveside. It would give little comfort to have one's family grave marked up with a big X under the Rotunda knowing that 'being next to the grave' is sitting by the Toilets! As stated, it was a priviledge to be buried under the Church building itself. That is true of a 14th Century chapel where gravestones are visable, not when a new building (which will not be used as a place of worship) is plonked straight on top. It makes a mockery of the whole funeral service.
It is true that toilets are needed for the Church, but one can see the Service ending up like a constant interuption when someone has to use the toilet every five minutes.
Why not use the most simple answer - the Hearse House! Already built next to the roadway, large enough for a toilet block and sewering next to the main road! It is currently serving as a lock-up, so perhaps a more significant role could now be used for the building.
Since the start of this proposal, there were rumours floating around to two names linked to the building of the Rotunda. That these people had already landed the contract for the building work and that they were involved in the Church.
The PCC has still not released the successful lowest tender for the businesses involved to prove that the building work will take place by contractors who have no involvement with the PCC or the Church in general, thus quashing the rumours. We will be happy to quote from the Minutes that will state this in due course.
Question 1 - Whilst appreciating the fact that the new path from Elm House Lych Gate to the new entrance will be flat, it will also be a longer walk and exposed to the weather, which will pose a problem to the elderley and infirm.
Question 2 - How will one access the main aisle from the new entrance on formal occasions.
Question 3 - Graves will obviously be disturbed during the building of the Rotunda?
Question 4 - Does anyone on the PCC have any conflict of interest as far as the planning process is concerned?