St Matthias and St George was built in two parts, firstly the chancel and sanctuary in 1884 and then the nave was built in 1911 after the money had been raised locally. The two parts are not quite of the same style, but they fit together well and the building feels very welcoming as one enters. The vaulted roof means the acoustics are excellent making the church a very good venue for organ recitals and concerts as well as church services. The former will be well demonstrated as soon as the refurbishment of the organ has been completed.
A hearing loop system was installed in the early 1990’s and was recently upgraded. The church was internally repainted and new chairs, carpet and a second handrail to the chancel added in the last few years.
The church hall was also built in various stages and has served the village well. During the last war it was a British Restaurant and then used by the First School for lunch and PE lessons before its first hall was built. The hall and small room are both used for a large part of the week by the community. Many members of the congregation wish to see an extension built to the hall to serve as a Parish Room/Office and additional storage space. This could then be used as the Team Vicar’s study, the vestry being too small for this role.
The vicarage is a large Edwardian style house, built in1926, with two large reception rooms plus a smaller family room. One of the larger rooms served as the previous vicar’s study and the other a lounge with an inviting open fire. The large secluded garden used to be a tennis court behind the church hall. Up until 2008 some parish meetings and some office work were undertaken in the vicarage.
Aims for the Future
· To continue to provide the people of Astwood Bank with the opportunity for regular worship, in particular through the weekly celebration of the Eucharist, and to provide greater opportunities to increase faith through prayer and fellowship.
· To undertake mission work within Astwood Bank in order to bring in new people of all ages, especially young people, and to widen the appeal of the Church in the community.
· To promote, lead and support Diocesan and in house training of congregational members so they can support the work of the new vicar and be able to lead activities along side him/her, and when the vicar is operating elsewhere within the Benefice.
· To promote St Matthias and St George to become a ‘central’ body within Astwood Bank so that it becomes a place where people go for religious and social activities. To build up the church as the ‘hub’ of the Astwood Bank community.To continue to work and worship with our Methodist friends to expand these aims