Vicar praying people can dig deep to make dream a reality in Bawtry

Rev Jonathan Strickland is hoping the project to expand St Nicholas' church in Bawtry can be completed
Rev Jonathan Strickland is hoping the project to expand St Nicholas' church in Bawtry can be completed

A Bawtry vicar is appealing for help to bring a 10-year dream to fruition.

A decade ago, the Rev Jonathan Strickland unveiled his plan to make St Nicholas’ church in the town more user-friendly for the local population.

Rev Strickland and his team spend their week going out into the community and bringing the word of the church to the people.

But their dream is for the people to come and enjoy being in the church as well.

And to make this dream a reality, Rev Strickland launched his Opening Doors project.

The ambitious plans included making the entrance a more welcoming place to encourage people to come into the church.

Rev Strickland also wanted to extend the church building to make it the sort of community-central venue the people of Bawtry would want.

With donations from church members and a few local businesses, and grants from charities and trust funds, the church’s entrance from Church Street in the town was transformed from a dangerous dark access into a beautiful entrance into the church.

Rev Strickland said: “The stained glass doors now allow the people of Bawtry to see into the historic church and offer a welcoming access from the road.”

But Rev Strickland and his team aren’t stopping there.

After years of hard work to fulfil planning and regulations, the church work got underway to extend the church to provide a toilet and meeting room.

However, the long delays to this ambitious project and the need to create a high quality building to complement the Grade I-isted original, have meant that costs have inevitably risen.

And there are only sufficient funds to complete an outside structure that will be in keeping with the rest of the historic building.

As a result, Rev Strickland and his team fear the risk is that the building will be left empty without any of the essential and basic fixtures and fittings users would need – such as toilet – as there will be no money to get them put in place.

This would mean visitors and the congregation will have a potentially perfect community space and hub within the town that they will not be able to use.

Rev Strickland said: “It’s been embarrassing to explain to visitors that we don’t have a toilet in the church building, which they quite reasonably expect in the 21st century.

“I am praying and thinking hard to find a way to get this project across the finish line.

“Let’s hope the dream is fulfilled.”

If you can help with the project in any way, contact Lesley Gilfedder on 01302 710298 or tribeadm@outlook.com