Building to Serve

In recent months at St Mary's, God has been extending our vision to serve the town in an exciting, ambitious and creative way at a time of substantially increasing need for many within our community...

Our vision is two-fold:

1. In our town… to acquire a vacant landmark building on our Market Street (‘The Old Bank’ - formerly the NatWest) and to transform it into a vibrant centre of social activity serving a wide cross-section of the community, and into a visible and accessible source of practical support for some of the most vulnerable in our town;


2. In our church building… to enhance our historic church building, enabling it to serve better as both a place of worship and as a valuable resource for the town, equipped for today’s needs and and for those of future generations, making sure that there is no barrier for anyone, young or old, and regardless of physical impairment. 

We would love you to catch this vision and join us in seeking to transform the lives of those most in need in Chipping Norton!

Artist's impression of church with pews removed

Current status of project (Spring 2020):

In October 2019 the final paperwork went through enabling us to exchange and complete on the purchase of the Old Bank on Friday 4th October! The following Sunday, with providential timing, we also launched our 'Building to Serve Campaign'.

Alastair Ewer, our Project Manager, is overseeing both aspects of the project (St Mary’s itself and the Old Bank) and, with the help and support of our Buildings Team (a subcommittee of the PCC), has commissioned initial design feasibility drawings from Banbury-based architects, Acanthus Clews, for both the church and The Old Bank. These designs have been on display in the church.  The next stage is to begin pre-planning preparations in order to submit the plans for various permissions (Planning, Listed Buildings, DAC etc).

Georgina Orchard, our Campaign Director, is shaping the fundraising campaign, so please be praying for her as she gets stuck into shaping up our appeal. Now that the campaign has been launched, we are seeking to encourage the people of the church (and also the town) to become integral parts of it to share the life-changing love of Jesus, and to serve even more widely in our community.  


We have held consultations with the church family to listen to their views and help them commit to this vision.  An Open Day at the Old Bank in December gave the public an opportunity to come into the building, see the plans and hear more about the vision for adapting the building to serve the town.  This was very well attended with some wonderful feedback being shared.  We were also invited to a briefing with the Town Council where they had a chance to understand our plans and very kindly leant their support to our campaign.  We are grateful for the strong support of Chippy News in providing a mechanism for keeping the wider community up-to-date with progress on the campaign by inviting regular articles from us.  We are also grateful for the generous support of BrandCooke, a local graphic designer who has produced brochures and branding materials for the Old Bank project.  Last, but certainly not least, we are continuing to network with statutory and voluntary agencies in the area who's expertise and understanding of the practical needs is guiding the practical support that this building will offer to our town.

This project has prayer at its foundations.  For this reason we have established a weekly time of prayer in The Old Bank when we can lay the project before God, seeking his guidance and provision for the vision he has give us to serve the people of Chipping Norton.  Please do come and join us, Mondays 12 to 1pm.  We have installed heaters so we can pray warmly!   Regular requests for prayer are also circulated via the Prayer Tree.  Please contact Georgina or Peter Williams if you would like to recieve these.

A name

The vision to serve the community through the Old Bank, now has a name - The Branch. This new name brings together the building's history (as a bank), the outreach and growth that we hope and pray will come about through the building, and Jesus as the central root and source of all that we do. So whilst the building will continue to be called the Old Bank, once the redevelopment has taken place, it will be The Branch that opens its doors to support and serve the community of Chipping Norton and surrounding villages. 

What next?

We have begun to make approaches to individuals and corporations who may be in a position to provide substantial sponsorship for this project, as well as submitting detailed applications for financial support through local grants and trusts.  This has been well recieved to date as local philanthropists and businesses capture the vision we have to serve our community.  We will continue to provide updates about plans and further developments here.  

If you have any questions or suggestions about how to support the campaign either practically or financially, or have specific questions about the details of the project please do contact Georgina on  She will be delighted to hear from you.

Buildings Team:

1. Alastair Ewer (Project Manager)

2. Georgina Orchard (Campaign Director)

3. Tim Woolcock (Churchwarden)

4. Graham Povey (Churchwarden)

5. Mary Smith (PCC)

6. Bill Rees (PCC)

7. Nick Grant

Ex officio: James Kennedy (Vicar)

[The Buildings Team is a subcommittee of the PCC, reporting at each meeting, but with delegated responsibility for operational decisions]


What's happening soon?

Coffee and Chat Sun 27th Sep Zoom More info
Virtual Sunday Sun 27th Sep Podcast and playlist More info
Ablaze Sun 27th Sep Zoom More info