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Mission Possible

Mission Possible is an exciting project to add an annexe to our premises to improve community and drama facilities in support of our Mission work, particularly amongst young people.


Before Mission Possible

We were challenged a few years ago to review our Church's Mission:

  • What could we do better?
  • What new initiatives would enable us to spread the good news of Jesus in our community?

Our Church Strategy Team looked at four strengths of our church:

  • The variety in our forms of worship;
  • Involvement in community life;
  • Our work with young people – mostly not on a Sunday!
  • The emphasis placed on drama – from pantomimes to drama in worship.


How can we capitalise on these?

Oakworth Methodist Church has always been keenly involved with work amongst children and young people. JIGSAW (Sunday School) no longer attracts the numbers it used to but more recent initiatives during the week, such as Messy Church and Kool Kids, balance Christian input with fun activities and these are proving more popular. We have hosted the annual village children’s pantomime for many years and several of the key members of the pantomime team are church members. The cast of 40 enthusiastic young people aged 8-18 present the pantomime to over 1200 people from the village and surrounding area during eight performances and the response is always brilliant! The KYDZ Youth Theatre group also rehearses weekly in our Hall and they put on three smaller shows each year at the front of Church. Pre-School, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides are just some of the other community groups who regularly use our premises. In fact, over 300 children and young people come through our doors each week.

We are seeking to encourage all these activities even more as a way of developing the Church’s Mission. However, our facilities were in urgent need of expansion to enable the Vision we hold for this work to flourish and reach its full potential. 

Mission Possible was our response to this.


So, how did we move forward?

Initial plans were drawn up for a project to extend the building, which addressed all the identified needs. A feasibility study was undertaken which confirmed it was physically possible. Extensive discussions with Church Council, local community groups and representatives from the Methodist Circuit and District, helped us to put together a package to address our Mission needs, bring practical benefits to the Church and enable us to meet our legal and community obligations.

The process seemed like “Mission Impossible” at times but the package received enthusiastic, unanimous support from church and community alike ... and Mission Possible was born!


The package

This is the Mission Possible package we adopted:

  1. The Circuit Youth, Children and Family worker is supporting us for ten hours a week ...
    • To capitalise on Mission opportunities in existing and new groups of young people
    • To encourage the use of drama in worship and as a tool for Mission
  2. An ambitious building project has been undertaken ...
    • To make the church more visible and welcoming and reduce our carbon footprint
    • To improve the building layout and storage with everything under one roof
    • To meet Ofsted requirements for Pre-School and legal Health & Safety obligations

Our aim was to add a two-storey annexe to the rear of the Church and remodel the Sanctuary area to create more space and flexibility for All Age Worship and drama productions - and to provide much improved stage facilities in the process. The self-contained annexe provides additional toilets and a new Meeting Room with its own tea-making facilities, which enables more church and community groups to use the premises concurrently. Safe storage areas have been provided for scenery, costumes and all the other equipment we need for our drama work, as well as for church and other user groups. A new Front Entrance and Lobby facing the road have made the Church more visible and welcoming and other improvements have enhanced the premises.


Progress to date

Church Council and Circuit Meeting responded enthusiastically and unanimously to the package and the District Property Panel gave their approval.

Jo Dolman was appointed Circuit Youth, Children & Family Worker in September 2016 and she is working on various projects across the Airedale Circuit.  Check out the latest Newsletter or posters at church to see what she is doing at the moment.

Detailed plans were drawn up for the building work. Local Authority Planning Approval and Building Control approval were given.

The project went out to tender in September 2016 but the tenders came back much higher than anticipated.  A long and complex value-engineering exercise followed, to reduce the cost of the project to a more acceptable level without compromising what we set out to achieve.  This was finally completed in June 2017 when a new budget was set at £425,000 - a cost saving on the whole project of over 30%.  

Meanwhile, a 48 page business plan was completed to support grant applications to various charities and other bodies.  Building work could not commence until at least 80% of the budget had been secured.  This was finally achieved in April 2018.

The project then went out for re-tendering in May and the revised tenders were received and value-engineered in June, confirming that the work could still be completed within our £425,000 budget figure.

Teams of Church and Community volunteers completed a tremendous amount of preparation work - converting the church into a huge store and re-housing everything from the construction area in it.  A temporary Pre-School play area was paved and fenced and new uPVC doors were installed in the Hall and Kitchen.

The Together Group Construction Ltd of Wetherby were appointed as main contractors and the building work commenced on site on 16th July 2018.  The contract was due to be completed in 16 weeks.  Preparing the foundations for the new Annexe took longer than expected as the cellars from the previous church on the site had to be excavated and refilled first.  The foundations were finally completed at the end of August and work commenced on the Annexe walls.  Internal refurbishment works were progressing well and it was still hoped that everything would be finished well before Christmas.  Our Mission Possible photo gallery was regularly updated on our church facebook page so that progress could be followed.

Sadly, Christmas came and went and there was still no sign of the ontract being completed.  Work never stopped but everything took far longer than expected.  Because of this, as rooms were finished, we were allowed to start decorating and moving things into them.  In this way, we managed to clear the Church of most of the equipment stored in there so that we could construct the new modular stage over the Christmas holidays and begin work on the pantomime scenery.

External work on rendering walls and laying out gardens, paths and car park began in earnest after Christmas and the contractors finally vacated the site on 15th February 2019,  the day before the first pantomime performance - just 15 weeks behind schedule!

We really are delighted with the outcome of the Mission Possible building works - they have given us everything we wished for and more!  The benefits will not be fully seen until all the local works are completed and we manage to move everything into its new home - but we are already hearing lots of enthusiastic comments and we pray now that this will be the launch pad for our Mission work going forward.

The response to our Mission Possible Appeal has been tremendous:

  • local fundraising/donations have now reached £101,955 - much more than the initial £90K target;
  • two bequests totalling £63,330 were earmarked for the project;
  • Methodist Church grants of £156,000 were secured;
  • a further £102,300 of external grants were secured - from charitable organisations including: Allchurches Trust, Sir George Martin Trust, Co-op Local Community Fund, Keighley Town Council Oak Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Kirkby Foundation, Beatrice Laing Trust, Methodist Insurance, The Rank Foundation.
  • This brings the total project amount secured to date to £425,740 - which means that the initial budget has been covered.
  • However, the project budget has had to be increased to £450,000 for various reasons so we still have a little way to go.

Preferential loan facilities have been arranged to cover the shortfall.      

The project continues to receive enthusiastic support from church and community alike ... and local fundraising continues - see the Mission Possible Appeal page above for details.  Thank you for your continuing support!

Meanwhile, Caryl Hallett has designed four stained glass panels for our Sanctuary based on the themes of Peace, Love, Faith and Hope.  Several members of the congregation have given feedback as the designs have developed and the outcome looks stunning!  The process of creating the actual panels is now well advanced and they will be installed at the end of March.  Tbe total cost will be £7,000 and a separate appeal has been made to anyone who would like to offer a donation towards this, perhaps in memory of a loved one or as a special thanksgiving offering.  £1,100 has already been received.  Thank you again.

The contractors will return in mid-March to complete work above the Sanctuary/stage area.  The church floor will then be stripped and re-sealed and decorating will be completed prior to the new Sanctuary carpet being laid.

All this will be finished by the end of March and we look forward to seeing a good crowd at the Mission Possible Celebration and Dedication Weekend on 6th/7th April to see what has been achieved and to celebrate with us - see the Church Diary for more information about this.