Vision to secure the future of Dudley's Top Church
‘We can’t be the generation that loses this church’. Those are the words of the vicar in charge of transforming Dudley’s landmark Top Church.
The Rev James Treasure is leading a £1.5 million project to secure the future of St Thomas and St Luke which is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.
He hopes to breathe new life into the iconic church by increasing congregation numbers from around 20 to 250 over the next five years by moving to offering modern-style services.
The church will also play a more active role in the community and the project includes replacing pews with chairs to enable the building to be used for a wide range of activities.
The 43-year-old said: “It’s a beautiful building but it’s an ageing congregation and the building is at risk. The plan would be to start a new contemporary congregation in the church building.
“It’s the church’s 200th anniversary this year and this is about how we serve the community for the next 200 years.”
Around £500,000 will be spent altering the inside of the building to make it more welcoming and flexible.
People walking though the doors currently find themselves immediately in the worship area but the plan is to install a sound proof glass wall between the seats and the entrance to create a welcome area where people can get refreshments or take children out without disturbing other people.
There will also be a play area for children and a space where informal meetings can be held. “The main change, visually, will be the removal of the pews. We are going to have chairs which is a set up flexible for the week
“We’re looking at having the chairs arranged in a round layout that’s more inclusive rather than everyone facing the front. We will have better sound, lighting and audio visual equipment which will allow us to use screens,” said father of three Rev Treasure, who said the space would also suit theatre groups looking to stage productions.
The church’s second entrance for wheelchair users and parents with prams and pushchairs will also be improved to make it more inviting and new toilets will be installed.
Rev Treasure is hosting a meeting at Top Church at Sunday for people interested in getting involved in the project.
All are welcome to attend at 4pm and refreshments will be available.