HLF Funded
As part of our 2018/19 restoration project, we have produced a Guide Book and a Guide Leaflet, both of which are available free of charge to visitors to our beautifully restored Church.

However, we know that there are many people who are emotionally or historically connected with St Michael's that cannot call in to collect their copy, so we've included links below to allow them to share what we've achieved (just click on the images to download your copy):

 Guide Book

 Guide Leaflet
Published: 2nd November 2019

Source: Patricia Goulding


 

HLF Funded
Our 2018/19 restoration project had a major funding body - the Heritage Lottery Fund.

One of the things they required of us was that we undertook a number of heritage-based projects.

So, as part of that, a 'Restoration Video' has been produced by a local photographer and video artist, Karren Brammer, capturing some key people and moments in our journey.

 

Published 

Source: Patricia Goulding (Churchwarden)

No.

Nothing to do with the clocks going back (that's October!).

This is about how our restored clock mechanism was lifted back up into our (newly restored) tower.

The clock mechanism is the actual clock - the restored face that we've all seen proudly displaying 12 O'Clock for some time now, is just the 'display device'.

If you click on the link below, you can see how the clockmakers got the clock back where it belongs.

All of this work is being funded by the Robert Lucas Trust, for which we are immensley grateful. Shefford's very own Trust aims 'To assist the needy and organisations benefiting the public in the parish of Shefford, which also includes educational grants for university students'

Published: 5th August 2019

Source: Stephen Lines

We have had many enquiries about when our beautifully restored clock face is actually going to start telling the time again.

The clock mechanism has been fully restored, and we've been looking after it for some time now.

But the clock needs a bell to strike, and although the bell itself has been restored, a decision to comission a bespoke medieval-style bell frame to hang it in (rather than the ugly, awkward and not very safe RSJ that the bell had previously been strapped to), has caused a short delay.

Bell foundries (who also have skilled craftspeople capable of building bespoke wooden medieval-style bell frames) are few and far between in the UK. The one that we are using is extremely busy.

So we weren't holding our breath.

Then, out of the blue, and ahead of schedule we were sent the photographs below, showing that they are making amazing progress (thanks guys!):

  1. Restored bell with the wooden part of the new headstock in place
  2. New bell frame under construction
  3. Bell frame assembled with protective finish applied (notice that it is held together with threaded steel rods, allowing it to be partially dismantled so the parts will fit through our small 'loft hatch' into the bell chamber

Shefford bell and frame

Shefford bell frame under construction

Bell Frame Nearing Completion

All of this work is being funded by the Robert Lucas Trust, for which we are immensley grateful. Shefford's very own Trust aims 'To assist the needy and organisations benefiting the public in the parish of Shefford, which also includes educational grants for university students'

So, the answers to the big questions:

  • When will the clock start telling the time? - the best information that we have so far is 'late summer' (2019)
  • When will the bell start chiming again? - same as above, BUT the bell will be striking, NOT chiming (chiming is the 'pretty bit' ahead of the strike that requires a number of bells to enable a tune to be played). Only one bell, so we'll have to strike. For now...

Photographs and Information: Patricia Goulding

Editorial: Stephen Lines

Date: 1st July 2019

HLF Funded
With the scaffolding down and the external part of our restoration project complete, focus has now switched to the interior improvements.

New Glass Doors
New heating and lighting has already been installed and we are pleased to announce that the re-modelling of the entrance lobby was completed in May 2019, by the fitting of new custom built glass doors.

The new lobby makes the church far more accessible and welcoming, with several positive comments already.

As you can see from the photograph, the new lobby allows the external doors to be fully open, signalling a welcome to passers by, whilst controlling draughts and noise in the building.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, All Churches Trust, the Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust, the Francis Coales Charitable Foundation, and the Steel Charitable Trust.

 

Photograph/Editorial: Stephen Lines

Date: May 2019

 

 

Watch this year's Easter day performance of the joyous sermon of Hippolytus!

And in case you didn't get it all (quite a bit of traffic noise, sorry), here's a transcript:

Pascal Sermon - HIPPOLYTUS of Rome

Are you God's friend and lover? rejoice in this glorious feast of feasts!

Are you God's servant, knowing God's wishes? be glad with your Master, share his rejoicing!

Are you worn down with the labour of fasting? now is your payday!

Have you been working since early morning? you will be paid fair and square.

Have you been here since the third hour? you can be thankful, you will be pleased.

If you came at the sixth hour, come up without fear, you will lose nothing.

Did you linger till the ninth hour? come forward without hesitation.

Even if you came at the eleventh hour? have no fear; it is not too late.

God is a generous employer, treating the last to come as he treats the first arrival.

God gives to the one and gives to the other: honours the deed and praises the intention.

Join, then, all of you, join in our Master's rejoicing.

You who were the first to come, you who came after, come now and collect your wages.

Rich and poor, sing and dance together.

You that are hard on yourselves, you that are easy, celebrate this day.

You that have fasted and you that have not, make merry today.

The meal is ready: come and enjoy it. The calf is a fat one: you will not go away hungry. There's hospitality for all, and to spare.

No more apologizing for your poverty: the kingdom belongs to us all.

No more bewailing your failings: forgiveness has come from the grave.

No more fears of your dying: the death of our Saviour has freed us from fear.

Death played the Master: but He has mastered death

Isaiah knew this would happen, and he cried: "Death was angered when it met you in the pit."

It was angered, for it was defeated.

It was angered, for it was mocked.

It was angered, for it was abolished.

It was angered, for it was overthrown.

It was angered, for it was bound in chains.

Death swallowed a body, and met God face to face.

It took earth and encountered heaven.

It took what is seen and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory?

Christ is risen and you are overthrown.

Christ is risen and evil has fallen.

Christ is risen and the angels rejoice.

Christ is risen and life reigns.

Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the tomb.

Christ is risen indeed from the dead, the first of all who had fallen asleep.

Glory and power to him for ever and ever!

Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Video: Stephen Lines

Date: Easter Sunday, 21st April 2019