Hampshire: Bishop lays foundation stone for eco-friendly church

 Bishop Crispian Hollis,  Bishop of Portsmouth, laid the foundation stone for a state-of-the art new church for the parish of  Sacred Heart and St Peter the Apostle at Waterlooville on in Hampshire on Friday, June 11.

The  £3.2m design, by Christchurch-based architect Columba Cook, will feature an impressive tear-shaped sanctuary window designed by architectural students at Swansea University and  energy-efficient features like rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.

After laying the foundation stone, Bishop Crispian said  “When completed, this church will be among the most eco-friendly churches for miles around. Obviously it is easier for a new building to be constructed to a high standard energy efficiency than some of our older churches, but it is my hope that other parishes in our diocese will be inspired by this building and, in their turn, will be doing all they can to ensure their churches are as energy efficient as they can be".

When it is finished in December, the new church will replace the old chapel built in 1923 by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity as part of  St. Michael’s convent which they have allowed local Catholics to use as their parish church.

 The new Sacred Heart, at the London Road end of the convent site, will seat  450 worshippers. The complex will also include a parish centre.

Parishioners have pledged more than £500,000 towards the £1m. that the parish has to find towards the cost and the diocese is funding the balance.

Father Kevin Bidgood, Parish Priest of Waterlooville, pays them fulsome tribute: “People have just been extraordinarily generous and been prepared to make sacrifices in these difficult times to make contributions each year for five years. The average gift per family as been about £4,000. Just wonderful, really.”

Students from the two parish schools, Oaklands comprehensive and St Peter’s primary, will help organise a time capsule which will be buried.

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