Official opening of our new Church House 2013

RSS

undefinedOur new diocesan office in Daresbury Park, near Runcorn was officially opened by the former diocesan bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Baughen, on Friday 4 October.

Bishop Michael - pictured here with Bishop Peter - unveiled a plaque and expressed the hope that the building would be a “Christ-centred house, a place for people who put God first.” Bishop Michael also reflected that in TV programmes about house purchase and renovation it is sometimes said that a building hasn’t got the wow factor.

But he added: “This new Church House HAS got the wow factor – so congratulations to all concerned.”

The ceremony was preceded by a service of dedication, led by the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster. The former Archdeacon of Chester, the Ven Christopher Hewetson, spoke during the service, which was held in the main open-plan office on the first floor.

Christopher Hewetson reflected on the poem ‘Atlas’ by Ursula Fanthorpe. Atlas in Roman mythology was the one to hold up all the structures of living. “And that is reflected in what you do in the new Church House,“ he told assembled diocesan staff and visitors.

Among those also attending the opening events were Margaret Ratcliffe, Mayor of Halton (the borough which includes Runcorn), and senior clergy with past associations with Chester diocese, including bishops Frank Sargeant, Michael Langrish and Ronald Brown.

The Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, and three honorary assistant bishops of the diocese, William Pwaisiho, John Hayden and Colin Bazley, also attended, as did the former Archdeacon of Macclesfield, Richard Gillings. The current Archdeacons of Chester and Macclesfield – Mike Gilbertson and Ian Bishop respectively – attended.

The Vicar of Daresbury, the Revd Canon David Felix, said that Daresbury – including the business park where Church House is located and the nearby science park – were together “a centre of modernity”. “Welcome to the future,” he told staff and guests.

A buffet lunch was enjoyed by some 112 guests.

The new Church House cost £1.5 million to buy and fit out. All parts of it are fully accessible. On the ground floor there are meeting rooms, a chapel, a staff room and resources areas.

The first floor accommodates offices for the Archdeacons of Macclesfield and Chester and work stations for staff – including  the Diocesan Secretary and people working in HR,  property management, surveying, finance, ministry, parish development, social responsibility, education, communication, the training of ordinands, plus those working with young people and children.

The new Church House replaces a former rented one in rural Aldford, south of Chester, where most staff had had their bases since 1999.

Daresbury Park was chosen as the new site for the main offices of Chester diocese because of its central location and good communication links.

The new Church House address is 5500 Daresbury Park, Daresbury, Cheshire, WA4 4GE.

Pictured above after the plaque unveiling - senior and retired clergy together. Front row: bishops William Pwaisiho, Michael Langrish, Ronald Brown, Peter Forster and Michael Baughan

Pictured below - the new Church House