We hope to change St Cynwyl's by re-ordering its interior and adding an extension


Why Change?

The two reasons for changing St Cynwyl’s are...

1.   To reverse declining attendance. Faced with declining attendance more people need to be attracted into St
       Cynwyl’s and to do this its interior should be refashioned to appeal to our modern and future communities.

2.    To focus worship on the congregation. The congregation is Christ’s body here on earth and wherever it worships it becomes God’s temple. Congregation centred worship makes and attracts more Christians. It increases attendance at worship.

a.    Christianity is unique amongst religions because it is about relationships. Christians have loving relationships with God and with each other. As Christians we reflect His love for us back to Him in worship and towards each other in fellowship and by doing this we become Christ’s body here on earth. When we worship in a church building it is we who are God’s temple and not the building, no matter how beautiful it is nor how much love went into its making and goes into its keeping. Surroundings and furnishings that distract us from this truth come between us and God’s love leaving less for us to reflect towards each other.

b.    Worship centred on a congregation requires seating layouts that can flex for various forms of worship. Flexible seating allows a priest to develop forms of worship that reflect the needs of the congregation and his/her teachings.

Use Of An Architect

At a PCC Meeting in 2007 it was resolved to retain an architect to explore what changes could be made and to produce sketches outlining his proposal. 

Formation of Steering Group

The Rector, the Wardens and PCC Officers formed a group to steer the architect. This Steering Group took advice from the Church In Wales on how to attract more people, how to focus on the congregation and how to develop our worship.

Advice From The Church In Wales

The Church In Wales' advice was based on recent changes to many parish churches in Wales . Our Archbishop said that all these changes had resulted in increased attendances. Using this advice the Steering Group gave the Architect the 12 aims listed below.

Steering Group’s Aims for Architect

1         To redecorate internally, redesign the lighting and to ensure the building is cool in summer and warm in

2         To provide indoor toilets.

3         To allow pram, pushchair and wheelchair access throughout all public spaces.

4         To re-order the Sanctuary to enable the priest taking the service to face the congregation and become part of it, and to let the congregation gather around the altar if need be.

5         To provide ample space by the main entrance for the greeting of people as they enter for services.

6         To re-order St Cynwyl’s to enable worship up to 7 days a week to be congregation centred with comfortable, flexible seating for 60 to 98 people plus extra space indoors for overflows at Easter, weddings, funerals, etc., and for baptisms to be in front of the whole congregation.

7         To provide a Vestry private to the clergy for their robing. To be sited to allow processing through the congregation.

8         To have a space in which to hold full Christian fellowship activities up to 7 days a week, arranged so that those attending activities will have to cross St Cynwyl’s threshold.

9         To have a small separate room for meetings of the PCC, of Children’s and Youth Clubs, of Small Worship Groups and for the supervision of children whilst parents attend main services, etc.

10       To have kitchen facilities serving both the meeting room and the fellowship space.

11       To have a quiet place for private prayer away from public spaces yet accessible to all.

12       To have indoor storage space for all movable church property.


The Options

These aims were a challenge as St Cynwyl’s is a small church and a Grade 2 Listed Building.

1.      Extension Needed. To meet the aims an extension would be needed. Options to locate it were to the South, West, East and North of St Cynwyl’s. North was chosen because the fewest graves would be affected and the extension would be hidden from view except from the ‘bus stop thus minimising the change to St Cynwyl’s external appearance, a requirement for listed buildings.

2.      Best Use Of Existing Space. Knowing that fellowship activities and worship happen at separate times, it was decided to make best use of St Cynwyl’s existing space by using it for both worship and fellowship. The other option, a larger extension to provide a separate space for fellowship, would have cost an extra £85,000.

Outline Proposal

Once the choice of options had been made, the architect, in constant consultation with the Steering Group, produced sketches of his outline proposal. They are in a folio on the notice board in St Cynwyl’s.

His proposal meets all the aims.

His estimated cost for the whole scheme is £295,000.


The Quinquennial Inspection

At the very last minute costings had to take into account the shock of the Diocese’s Quinquennial Inspection Report issued in August 2008 (a year overdue). It identified repairs costing £93,000 that had accumulated over decades. The major points needing attention were rotting wooden floors, failing Vestry wall and the N wall bulging under pressure from the Chancel Arch. The Steering Group think that £53,000 of these repairs could be done as part of the proposal leaving £40,000 extra to fund. Therefore the estimated cost for the proposal and the balance of the repairs is £335,000 in total.


Funding Feasibility

Using worst case figures we believe we can raise £255,000 from own resources and a further £85,000 in grants, making £340,000. The proposal is feasible, it is not pie-in-the-sky.

If a shortfall does occur we will fund raise. Fund raising will draw us closer in fellowship.

When we are ready to begin the change, it will be done in stages. A stage can only start when sufficient funds for it are in place, always mindful that the PCC’s reserves should not drop below two years worth of running costs.

Faculties & Planning Permissions

The outline proposal will be considered by the Diocese to see what Faculties will be issued.  (A Faculty is Diocesan Permission to proceed with work.) After faculties have been issued the extension will be submitted for County Planning Permission . Once we have all these we can then start to apply for grants.

Obtaining Faculties will take time as the Diocese will consult in depth. Once we have them we then apply to the County for Outline Planning Permission for the extension when there will be more consultation leading to an application for Detailed Planning Permission perhaps followed by yet more consultation. Obtaining all the Faculties and Planning Permissions may take 2 years.


Construction could take another 2 years so it will be at least 4 years before the proposal is completed if everything goes smoothly. If things do not go smoothly it may all take a lot longer.


We now have a feasible plan for changing St Cynwyl’s. When it is completed attendance will grow thanks to the refashioning and to worship being focussed on the congregation.

More people attending St Cynwyl’s will mean a larger body of Christ here in Aberporth.

(His full folio of sketches is on the notice board in St Cynwyl's)












WEST END (view from 'bus stop)




(Buttress counters load from chancel arch which is bulging N wall.)