80th Anniversary Development Project

Published: Thursday, 22 May 2014

The challenge facing ABC is to keep our buildings up to scratch for the next couple of decades: it's nearly 20 years since the last major works were done. What will our needs be over the next 20 years?

Our pastors and deacons have been working with architect Ken Edmonds and other "stakeholders" to discern directions for future development and growth. Some preliminary strategies are being put in place now. These include an application for a planning permit from the Boroondara Council for widening the floor area of the Café. This will not oblige us to undertake any particular course of action but will avoid frustrating delays when future decisions are taken.

We have looked at the Sanctuary: this space is where the core mission of the church takes place - to worship God. How do we do this best? How can we create and maintain the appropriate ambience? Should we retain the "traditional" look, should we replace the pews with more flexible seating to allow a greater variety of worship styles? Should we combine the "old" with more "new" flexible seating? What do people think of the seating arrangements put in place for the current series of mission fund raising concerts? How can we improve our audio-visual presentations which are becoming such a significant part of worship in the 21st century?

And what about the "Centre" (the "West End" of the premises, comprising the Lounge, Hall, etc)? Can these buildings be made more functional to sustain our mission of hospitality, engagement, interaction and involvement with our community? The Centre gets quite a lot of use currently: our ambition is to see it used even more often and effectively.

And the Café area? If this were redesigned, made bigger, and developed with good sound attenuation, would we find the noise levels less obtrusive? Could we cater better for larger groups to share morning tea, eat meals together and hold discussions around tables, not to mention improving accommodation for the bourgeoning Thursday Hub crowd?

And the garden between the Centre and Elsie Salter House. This space has the potential to be enjoyed by ESH clients, Playgroup children, WellSpring participants and the community as a whole. But currently it isn't because the grass won't grow and it's a mud-heap. What if we put decking up to create a far more usable space? Ken has some great thoughts on this.

Our aim as deacons is to lead ABC into the 21st century with functional buildings which reflect God's love for us and encourage community participation.

The deacons are planning to run a series of consultation events and forums over the next few months to ensure that members and friends have opportunities to have their say and become fully involved in this exciting new phase of ABC's life, work and witness.

Watch out for more news – your involvement and input are vital! And any questions or comments, please contact Ken Edmonds, Richard Thwaites or Chas Shinkfield or any other deacon or member of the pastoral team.