They say that every family needs a home. A Church family needs a home too – a safe, warm and functional space to meet together that facilitates our community, ministry and mission. The St Barnabas Hall is just such a space for the St Barnabas parish family. Built in 1941, extended in 1951 and remodeled a few decades ago, the hall is absolutely essential for our community life and outreach.

Today it is used intensively throughout the week for activities as diverse as Guides and Brownies, garden clubs, AA groups, sewing groups, seminars, parties, professional functions, wedding receptions, the St Barnabas Play Group, mainly music, Fridayzone and men’s and women’s groups. And of course the hall is used as the worship space for Lifestreams and Antioch. Clearly the St Barnabas Parish Hall is a most valuable asset for both parish and wider community.

However like many buildings in Christchurch, the time has come to earthquake strengthen the hall and at the same time bring it up to a modern standard throughout. In the past four years we have strengthened and refurbished the Church and the St Barnabas Centre. We have also completed all the outstanding maintenance on these buildings and improved their functionality with new heating, audio-visual, security and computer systems. They will serve us and subsequent generations well. It is now the Hall’s turn.

Like the first two buildings, the hall needs to be earthquake strengthened to 67% of New Building Standard. At the same time this work takes place it is sensible to undertake a range of improvements and to complete all deferred maintenance. A consensus for this work has emerged over the last two years through a number of parish consultations.

Desired improvements include a new kitchen, remodeled toilets, increasing the hall footprint by 15% by using the space behind the concertina doors, new storage areas for our outreach ministries, remodeled Wafer Room and a new heating system. We also need to replace a large portion of the slate roof, repair concrete cancer on the exterior south wall and replace the floor. Earthquake work includes adding strengthening diaphragms to a number of ceilings and so this will mean that the majority of plaster linings will be replaced.

So how do we pay for all this? In 2011 we established the St Barnabas Fendalton Trust and over a period of 5 years raised $1.6 million dollars. Together with insurance proceeds we spent a portion of this money on the church. The St Barnabas Centre was funded by further insurance proceeds and a portion of the money raised from the sale of the St Thomas land. There is about $1,000,000 left which is available for the hall project.

Initial estimates indicate that the cost of strengthening, maintenance and improvements total $1,500,000 and so we are about $500,000 short of the amount we need. The Works Team, Parish Strategy Team and Vestry have all been through the estimates and some minor cost savings have been suggested. The best way forward however is to increase our funding and to undertake work in stages as additional funds come to hand.

Stage 1 which includes the strengthening and most of the internal work is valued at about $1,200,000. Stage 2 includes the roof, the floor and the concrete wall repairs and is valued at about $300,000. The engineering and architectural drawings are well advanced, we have engaged with Hanham and Philp Contractors and we would like to begin the work in August or September.

The St Barnabas Fendalton Trust will meet regularly over the next few months to coordinate fundraising efforts and we will be writing funding applications and approaching individuals. If you would like to support this most important project, please contact the Trust Secretary Corinne Haines on 021 220 0039 or make an internet banking transfer to Trust Bank accoun 01 0819 0455281 00. Further information is on the Home Page of the parish website. We have about six months – will you support our ‘Last Push?’