sutton coldfield baptist church


Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church was founded in 1908, and since then there have been moments when the leaders and members/congregation have heard God calling them to do something different and new, always with the purpose of glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ, and making Him known.

Once again we are sensing God calling and challenging us to do the same, leading more men, women, young people and children to become disciples of Jesus, supported by a church community that makes sense of life together and shares the love of Jesus.

All that follows is based on an understanding that we want to follow where God leads and be obedient in His service. Although this document discusses the church foyer (entrance, porch, kitchen, lounge, toilets, etc.) and other practical matters, the focus has to be on the “why?”

It is over 30 years since we moved into our current premises. During this time we have done some significant refurbishment and remodelling of the hall (2007/8). In 2014 we finished the significant work on the interior of the Way Inn, thanks to an external grant secured by the *gap project. We are now part way through out “Refreshing the Worship Building” project..

Why do we want to do more to “refresh” the worship building?

As good stewards we need to maintain and develop the assets we have so that they are suitable for God’s purposes amongst us, sufficient to meet the need, and that the condition is acceptable and safe, and that it doesn’t deteriorate.

Over the last three years we have been Refreshing the Worship Building, having completely refurbished the worship area and associated mechanical and electrical services. Apart from routine maintenance, periodic decorating, solar panels and some work to refresh the toilets and improve disabled access, this was the first significant work has been done on the worship building since 1985. The success of this work has highlighted the need to complete the task by remodelling the foyer.

When we started the Refresh project, we identified two big issues that affect the building:

  1. It was “tired” and out-dated. The mechanical and electrical services, as well as fixtures, fittings, furniture and some equipment are in some cases worn out and inefficient. It is no longer the bright, modern, attractive and inspiring space it was.
  2. It was the most under-used space that we own: fully occupied for about 2 hours a week, on a Sunday morning, and quite heavily used for another few hours a week including 8.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. services, and ad hoc one off special events including cabarets, weddings and funerals.

We have moved a long way in three years, and the first point does now not apply to the main worship area. We have a contemporary space with flexible furniture and lighting that can be configured to the event or service. We also make more use of the space. We are delighted at the response of visitors who have never been into our church before.

The entrance and foyer of the church is a stark contrast to this. It is dark, can be cold, feels cluttered and claustrophobic, and gives not indication of what lies beyond. Toilets and refreshments are hard to find to those who visit for the first time.

By Refreshing the Foyer we will continue to do the work supported by the Church over the last three years, and so we will:

  • Protect the investment of previous generations for future generations, maintaining the vision of Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church being “The Light on the Hill.”
  • Make better use of our facilities by making them more flexible and attractive for different activities and styles of worship, for multiple services, and for activities that draw people into church and ultimately supporting them to become followers of Jesus.
  • Invest in measures that make our buildings more economic to run in the long term, making better use of our financial resources and further reducing our use of non-renewable energy.

What are we proposing to do, and how much will it cost?

  • Refurbish or replace the main external doors (depending on planning consent appeal).
  • Remove the current internal porch and install a correctly specified hot air curtain above the main door.
  • Redecorate and repair the ladies’ and disabled toilets.
  • Remodel the men’s toilets.

  • Open up the roof area to create light and space, revealing the full mitred windows.
  • Create a second kitchen hatch facing the entrance.
  • Refit the kitchen as a refreshment preparation area that complements our catering kitchen rather than duplicates it.
  • Refurbish the lounge including the storage areas.
  • Install correctly fire rated doors to the worship area. These doors to have larger glazed panels.
  • Replace all heaters, and create independent heating circuits for the main worship area and the foyer.
  • Install new lighting
  • Renovate the external walls where necessary.
  • Associated building, mechanical and electrical works.

Based on professional estimates we think this work can be accomplished at around £159,000.

What Next

How can I respond on the proposal?

If you wish to discuss the proposal, please speak to any member of the Leadership Team.

If you are a church member, please attend the Church Meeting at 8.00pm on 21st March 2018 when we will discuss and pray about this proposal and will decide the next steps together.

Where can I see more details?

There are larger plans available for viewing on displays around the church.

You can also download larger images and plans below:

View of foyer looking towards the kitchen

View of foyer looking toward the main door


Plan – Cross Section

Plan – Toilets

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Are these proposals different to those of January 2015?

Yes. They are more extensive and are based on ideas from the church, from architects and from extensive research, discussion and prayer.

Has a decision already been made?

No. There is to be a period of information, discussion and prayer prior to the church meeting on Wednesday 21st March making a decision.

Do we have to do anything about the Foyer?

Yes. We must upgrade and replace the mechanical and electrical services, and replace the doors into the worship area as identified in our fire risk assessment. Shutters to the lounge need replacing, and the whole area needs refurbishment. In addition, these proposals seek to enhance the whole area, making it brighter, more airy, and more welcoming. If we choose not to deal with the proposals in this paper, then other proposals will need to be brought to future church meetings.

We currently have approximately £50,000 available. Essential mechanical and electrical works would be over £40,000 and with desirable redecoration and refits would be nearer £70,000.

Weren’t we looking at a bigger scheme?

After our discussion with over 60 activity and group leaders on 2nd September 2016 our Architect came up with an exciting scheme which involved significant structural alterations. We investigated and developed these plans and consulted with structural engineers and building companies. The engineering costs have proved to be higher than expected due to the complexity of the work, possibly over £200,000. After much prayer and consideration by the project team and the leadership team we feel it is inappropriate to bring a project of this value to the church at this time.

We have not rejected these ideas however, so we are ensuring that the proposed scheme does not compromise any future decisions and works.

Are we looking to borrow money?

No. There are appropriate ways to borrow money, including from the Baptist Corporation, but we don’t think this is appropriate or necessary. If we agree that these works are the right things to do, we believe that God will provide the money from within the church body.

Are we being asked for more money?

This scale of investment cannot be made from the general fund, which is supported by regular monthly and weekly giving. As explained earlier in this paper, these proposals are more expensive than those brought to the church in 2015, and the reasons are also explained. If there was a firm commitment to give even more money, we could bring the fuller scheme back to the church for consideration, but this proposal is for the reduced option. If we, as a church sense it is right to remodel the foyer and lounge, then we need to respond through giving to this project.

What happened to “four phases”?

From the start, the plans for the foyer area were the least developed. As we considered these, we realised that they were short sighted and would not achieve what we wanted. We therefore engaged the services of an architect and quickly realised that we should consider the toilets, porch, lobby, kitchen and lounge areas as a totality. It thus seemed sensible to complete the whole of the worship area, including the additional works identified.

Does all the work need to be done in one go?

We would not proceed with works until sufficient money is available or is pledged. Whilst some of the work could proceed in stages, it is cheaper and less disruptive if the majority of the work is done in one phase.

Will we need to move out whilst work is done?

There will be some disruption and we may need to relocate some activities to other areas, but we will not cease to worship in the building.

Are the prices fixed and final?

No. Some of the prices are based on fixed price quotations, some on professional estimates and some on professional experience. A contingency has been built in. All work would need to be precisely specified and where necessary revised quotations sought. In some cases prices will increase due to inflation whilst we are progressing. It is also possible that prices might fall, and that some prices may be subject to exchange rate fluctuations. All prices include VAT.

What is the Tithe about?

It is a Biblical principle, and one of our core values, that we each respond to God’s gracious provision to us by giving away part of our income. We also do this as a church: approximately 25% of our donated income is given to work outside of our church, including mission and external pastoral work. For this project an additional 10% of the money given is to Church related building projects overseas or in the UK. So far we have given £20,000 to St John’s House in Washwood Heath, have supported the transport costs of our old chairs to St Aiden’s Church in Billingham (£180). We still have approximately £7,000 to give away from money already donated.

How can I give and will I be able to Gift Aid?

Details of how to give will are outlined at the end of this document. UK tax payers will be able to give so that the church can claim Gift Aid as usual.

What happens to the money raised if we don’t proceed?

If the Church rejects the option presented, we will still need to undertake work in the Foyer and lounge areas, and in due course in the church hall. Alternative proposals would be brought to the church.

I have a professional expertise in one of these areas, can I help?

All expert advice is welcomed, and where appropriate it is considered and acted upon. Any such advice is given in a voluntary nature. It must not be assumed that advice will lead to professional work, contracts or remuneration.

Have we made saving as a result of our lighting and heating improvements so far?

Yes. Our energy consumption is noticeably less, and combined with changing energy suppliers we appear to be reducing costs. We think this has been wise capital expenditure which ensures that future church users have lower day-to-day running costs and reliable, flexible heating and lighting. We want them to concentrate more on the service of God and making disciples and less on the mechanical and electrical services!

There is no mention of IT facilities and IT access. Isn’t this something we should consider?

In phase one of our work we did not initially plan to widen our IT access, but do it at a later date. Needs dictated major changes to our office IT infrastructure, so we took to opportunity to extend the scope of the works to cover the halls and worship building. This work is now complete with regards to the infrastructure in the worship building.

Questions about Lighting

What are you proposing to do with the lighting in the foyer?

All lighting will be replaced with a modern LED system linked in to the new LED control system for the main worship area. This will enable different levels of lighting to be used for different uses.

Will new lighting cost less to run?

Yes. It should cost a lot less to run. Experience from the Way Inn and the main worship area shows this.

Questions about the Foyer, Reception and Lounge

Why do anything to the reception and lounge?

First impressions are important in welcoming people. Also a great final impression when someone leaves encourages them to return. Our reception area is crowded and dark. Toilets cannot be accessed without squeezing past the welcome desk and people at the door. The entrance leads into a congested space. By reordering the entrance, we aim to make it brighter, warmer, less congested and to lead people into a more open area from where there are clearly signed choices e.g. welcome desk, toilets, worship area, lounge.

We wish to not only make the lounge more attractive, but to also make it a space that can be used without so much noise spilling from the worship area.

Are you proposing to change the lounge carpet and curtains?

Yes. We will use professional designers to help plan this.

What about changing the external door to the Church? Can it be made bigger?

Moving or enlarging the entrance has been considered previously and is not feasible. We have explored changing the external doors e.g. for glass ones, but we have been refused planning permission. We are although we appealing this decision. If we keep the existing doors, they will need to be refurbished.

Will the moveable partitions be easy to move?

The partitions (“moveable wall”) are designed to be robust and lock into place. We will seek systems that are also easy to operate by those trained to do so. Power assisted shutters have been ruled out on cost grounds.

Are there any regulations we need to comply with?

Yes. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places the onus firmly on the “Responsible Person” to carry out a fire safety risk assessment on a building and its contents. This will define the fire safety requirements for any works and for furniture and furnishings. The responsible person is the Admin Team Leader on behalf of the trustees.

Why was a hole dug in the foyer?

One of the schemes we explored involved removal of a kitchen wall and installing a steel frame to support the roof at that point. The underground survey confirmed that the foundations could support such a frame should we wish to undertake such work. The costs of such work mean that we are not considering this work at this stage.

Will the reception desk be fixed?

No. The images are indicative and no decision has been taken about colour or position. It is proposed that the reception desk can serve many functions, e.g. as a reception and welcome point, as storage for cups and as refreshment service stations. It will be made of segments, all of which can be used and positioned independently.

I can’t see any chairs in the foyer area.

Furniture would be movable and multi use. The positioning of furniture should be appropriate to the event at any one given time.

What are the grey blocks near the door and reception desk?

The grey blocks indicate that display screens would be visible in of the various parts of the foyer. These would give information and can also be used to show the service for those not in the main worship area.

Questions about Toilets

What are you doing above the drains in the Ladies toilets?

In the past there have been problems resulting in an unpleasant residual smell. Work has been done to pipework that appears to have solved this problem.

Why are you proposing to remodel the men’s toilet?

Having only one cubicle is problematic for the size of gatherings in the church, so we would like to completely reconfigure the men’s toilets.

Questions about Carpet and Flooring

What colour will the carpets and floors be?

We will choose carpets and flooring to coordinate with other colour schemes, and will seek expert advice as necessary. No decision has been made yet.

Can we carpet the whole of the foyer and lounge church floor?

We feel that a hard surface is more practical in the foyer. Barrier matting will be installed by the main door. The lounge area will be carpeted.

Questions about Heating

What is proposed for the heating?

New fan-assisted convector radiators similar to those in the worship area will be installed in existing positions. Switches and thermostats control which heating zones have heat blown out through the radiators.

Will the Foyer be cold without the internal porch?

We propose to have a correctly specified “hot air curtain” (blower) on the inside of the main door. This is similar to other public buildings, e.g. shops, banks, schools, etc. We have inspected one such blower specified by our Architects at Long Crendon Baptist church and were very impressed with it.

Questions about Kitchen

Will we still have a kitchen?

We are blessed with a commercial standard catering kitchen in the Church Hall that meets all our catering needs. We do not use the kitchen by the church lounge for catering preparation and cooking. We do use it for serving and preparing refreshments. For larger events we enhance this by creating a larger serving area in the foyer or lounge.

The proposed kitchen area will contain a sink, water boiler, dishwasher, fridge, storage and preparation surfaces. In additional to counter serving areas, we will have moveable refreshment service points.

For larger events we will utilise mobile equipment for warming and serving as required.

We have consulted those who are involved in catering and have monitored how large events function and see no need to create a second catering kitchen.

Questions about the Hall

What is happening to the hall?

The hall was remodelled and extended in 2008. Much of the furniture is now 10 years old or more and needs replacement, and the rooms need decorating. We are trying to do as much of this as possibly out of normal budgets. Heating of the ground floor was not touched in the remodelling and is 34 years old. At some point we must upgrade the hall heating and lighting, but no costs are included at this stage.

Questions about Finance

How much have do we have in the building fund at the moment?

At the end of 2017 there was approximately £40,000 available in the Building Fund.

Did we over spend on the work done so far?

The scope of the work changed as the project developed. Lighting, heating and flooring all came in around budget. Expenditure on chairs was below budget. We spent more on decorating than originally planned as we realised this was a once in a generation opportunity to decorate professionally to a high standard. Other expenditure were for items not originally envisaged, and these fall into two categories; (i) essential works such as asbestos and electrical surveys, electrical works, drainage works for the ladies toilets (ii) works that were appropriate to do before the flooring and decoration was undertaken, i.e. install a fire alarm, extend the IT infrastructure (including WiFi) to cover the worship building, replace the hearing loop driver, and fit the plantation blinds to the platform windows. These works cost an additional £32,000.

How much has been spent on the foyer so far?

We have spent approximately £16,000 on professional fees and surveys, e.g. architects and structural engineers, which included exploring the foundations of the church.

What does the full scheme look like?

We are not proposing to proceed with the full scheme at this stage due to the high costs of the structural engineering. A small inagwe can be found in the brochure available in the church.

Additional questions asked at the Church Meeting 31st January 2018

If everything went to plan when would it be completed?

We cannot give a time-scale, as we will not begin the works until the necessary money is received, or pledged. There will be no heating work carried out between October and May.

Can we have any other type of front door?

No, unless planning permission changes we may have to retain this exact same door.

Conservation did not prevent Holy Trinity from having a glass front door?

Holy Trinity falls under church planning rather than local authority conservation.

If we receive extra money, can we still do plan A as originally discussed in September 2016?

If more money is received then any decisions regarding this would be made at a future church meeting.

Have we received any comments from the younger generations?

Yes, the young people seem to love the new worship area. Young people want things to look good, and are put off if things do not look a certain way, especially if they are inviting friends. Some parents of our under 5’s children had recently been amazed by our worship building. It was wonderful that the positive comments came from people of other faiths.

Can we have a detailed breakdown of costs in every area?

These can be provided to Church Members on requested.

Could costs go up if we wait for the money to come in before starting the work?

Yes, that is a possibility. We have built in a 5% contingency plan, but we cannot start work without the necessary finances in place.

Have there been any further thoughts regarding access to the building?

We are constrained by the entrance we already have. Options have been explored many times over the years

Can we sort out the parking on the hill?

Public parking is not under our control

First impressions count. What will people outside be able to see when looking in?

At present we cannot change our existing door. The newly unblocked windows will allow more visibility. Welcoming is also about us how we do things rather than appearances alone.