COMMUNITY SUPPORT will be the key to helping carry out extensive and expensive repairs to the beautiful stained glass windows at St Chad’s Church, Uppermill.
During the past year, St Chad’s has marked 800 years of worship on the current site, including hosting a unique Eucharist service and a pilgrimage from Saddleworth to Lichfield.
But whilst there was much to celebrate, there was also concern when it was discovered the church’s 14 elaborate stained glass windows need extensive repairs.
The Great East Window is the immediate priority but the other 13 windows also require attention.
The church has launched a ‘Seeing is Believing’ project to raise funds to preserve the heritage for future generations as well as revitalise the church for the next 800 years.
Plans include creating greater accessibility, a wider welcome for the community and more opportunities to offer arts and educational activities for all ages.
Rev Canon Sharon Jones, Saddleworth Team Rector, said: “The church is more than the building. It is a window onto God.
“It is a focus for the community, a custodian of the traditions and faith and history of the Saddleworth community.
“When people enter St Chad’s we want everyone to feel a sense of the presence of God. We want the beauty, light, love, holiness and peace of the church to inspire and create an expectation of God. We want people to see and believe.”
The church’s Development Group is leading the challenge of securing the resources and expertise.
They will launch a major fundraising campaign in February 2017 and will also be applying for appropriate grants towards the project.
Community support has already begun with Cllr Pam Byrne, Chairman of Saddleworth Parish Council, choosing the restoration of The Great East Window as one of her charities for the year.
And Uppermill Co-op has selected ‘Seeing is Believing’ as one of three local community causes to which members can donate one per cent of the cost when they purchase Co-op branded goods and services until April.
Young people are also supporting the launch of the project through a ‘Design a Logo’ competition.