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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 are in urgent need of expansion to enable the Vision we hold for this work to flourish and reach its full potential. 

Mission Possible is our response to this.


So, how are we moving 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 have adopted:

  1. The new Circuit Youth, Children and Family worker will support 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 will be 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 is 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 will provide additional toilets and a new Meeting Room with its own tea-making facilities, which will enable more church and community groups to use the premises concurrently. Safe storage areas will be 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 will make the Church more visible and welcoming and other improvements will enhance 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 is now working on various new 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 have been 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.  

The response to our Mission Possible Appeal has been tremendous:

  • local fundraising/donations have now reached £88,720 towards our £90K target;
  • two bequests totalling £63,330 have been earmarked for the project;
  • Methodist Church grants of £156,000 have been secured;
  • a further £102,650 of external grants have also been secured so far - 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 £411,000 - which means that over 96% of the budget is secure.
  • Two of the many charitable trusts which were asked to support us in raising the remaining £14,000 are still to respond over the Summer months.

Because we were not able to commence building work at Easter as hoped, the project had to go out for re-tendering in May.  The revised tenders were received and value-engineered in June, confirming that the project can still be completed within our £425,000 budget figure. 

Teams of Church and Community volunteers have done 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 has been paved and fenced and new uPVC doors have been 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.  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 has now commenced on the Annexe walls.  Internal works are also progressing well.  Check out the church facebook page for our Mission Possible photo gallery. The project will be completed by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, preferential loan facilities have been arranged in case the current shortfall is not fully covered by the end of the project.      

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 support!