Friends of Essex Churches Trust

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All Saints Great Braxted

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Featured Church’ - Langford, St Giles

Langford, St GilesThe July edition of Essex County Council’s Essex Matters magazine asked its readers ‘What would you do with £10,000 to improve your community?’  As the deadline for entries was coming up very quickly, Churchwarden, Irene Allen, sent in an entry.  ‘I wrote a couple of paragraphs noting that our village shop had long gone and the village hall was used as a childcare nursery during the day and was always booked up in the evenings, so there were no longer any amenities in the village. My thought was that it would be lovely if we could extend the use of the church building in some way, perhaps as a mini-shop or sub-Post Office, for maybe one day a week, and so bring people into the building who might otherwise not use it. I know there is a growing belief in ecclesiastical circles that church buildings should not just be used on Sundays, so I thought this might be an appropriate idea.’

Dan Gilby from the ‘Quality of Life Unit’ at Essex County Council rang Irene to say that they had received almost 800 entries and had a short list of 12 including Irene’s idea. The panel was consisted of the ‘Quality of Life Unit’ Committee, the Essex Chronicle (who put up some of the money), the East Anglian Daily Times, and other interested parties, including Lord Hanningfield. Irene said ‘Although very pleased that the idea had got that far, I still didn’t believe it would get any further. However, Dan rang me again on Monday, 10th September to say that the panel had met that morning and had agreed that mine was the winning idea! Although absolutely delighted, I then broke out in a cold sweat as I had spoken to no-one about the idea (not the Archdeacon, or even my own PCC) as I truly didn’t think it would come to anything, so I spent the next couple of days frantically ringing round, and fortunately everyone was very supportive.’

Langford, St Giles in WinterSo what now?  Such an idea clearly needs a lot of thought, and will certainly need the backing and support of the village, but it is hoped to have a joint meeting shortly of all interested parties to see where we take this idea next.  Irene said ‘There are a lot of decisions to be made, including whether this is the right time to think about other facilities at the church, like a toilet and a kitchen, but of course that would mean changing the church in some way, and obviously that will need careful consideration.  But it is hoped that we can come up with something imaginative that will be acceptable to all the community. It is such an exciting thing to have happened, and I am very grateful to all the members of the panel who saw the idea’s potential.’

Recently one of our PCC members, Ted Watson, has said he will make over a piece of his land adjoining the churchyard for a car park.  As there is currently no car park for the church, this is wonderful news and we are very grateful to him.  When our ‘shop’ gets going this will be invaluable.

Langford St Giles is on the north side of the B1019 (Maldon Road) from Hatfield Peverel to Maldon. The key can be obtained either from Irene Allen on 01621 855447, or her fellow Churchwarden, Harvey Pipe, who lives just across the road from the church. His number is 01621 854988.