The innovative idea of Rev Nicholas Pearkes to put wheels on the pews in St John the Baptist church has been attracting lots of attention recently, even featuring on ITV Local News last week. Churches from as far away as Canada have been in touch to find out how they can make their pews mobile in order to create spaces for different activities. In Littlehempston, we now take for granted that our Community Space can be re-arranged in a variety of ways to cater for such things as exercise classes, theatre and craft fairs, while still keeping the traditional look of the church for services.
But for many, this is a new idea. A church in Wiltshire hosted the Panta Rei dance company and wrote to say: We spent the day lugging our church pews around to make the space and the dancers kept saying “Well, in Littlehempston they are on wheels!” … and of course we were intrigued to hear about this. I’ve googled “pews on wheels” and you come up immediately. In response to the many enquiries, an article with photos has been put on the Community Space Project section of this website, providing more details of this “revolutionary” idea.
ITV Local News picked up the story and came along to film the ease and speed with which the Pilates class set up the Space, and also interviewed Rev Pearkes and Space Team member, Ali Taylor. The South West news Agency also filmed and interviewed the Pilates class, which has resulted in articles in newspapers around the country. Here’s a YouTube clip of their visit:
Our PCC showed a lot of forethought when they decided to adapt the church for “Village Hall” activities and happily the result has been a great success. At a time when many rural churches are closing, as use dwindles, the future of our church seems assured at least for the moment. Not only do Space events provide much enjoyment and pleasure, they also raise the funds to keep this beautiful Grade 1 listed building open for all. It’s been a busy four years for this small village, who also rose to the challenge of saving its local pub, the Tally Ho, from closure. Rural decline is not always inevitable!