Our Church Building

Our church building has something of a Gothic look but is built in a mixture of styles including some Perpendicular and Arts & Crafts features.  Designed by architects Crouch and Butler, the main church was built in 1903 with some additions over the following ten years.  The church building itself is faced with Weldon stone and roofed with Collyweston stone tiles.  It is built in a traditional cross-shaped style.

Some of the additional community buildings were added in 1969. In 2018 we completed an extensive rebuilding of the community buildings - the halls were modernised and the internal layout of the entrance and corridor was made much more accessible. Most noticeable from the outside is the lovely cross-shaped window in the smaller hall which can be seen from Lichfield Road, and the two new rooms on the Four Oaks Road side with their interesting curved roof above tall windows letting in plenty of light. The new rooms are described on the Halls and Rooms page.

Some of our Junior Church have compiled a glossary of some of the names given to parts of church buildings. 

Front Entrance

The front entrance to the church is reached by a number of steps, so this may not be the best entrance for everyone.  Level access to the whole building (except the gallery) is available from the car park.

The front door leads into the narthex, or lobby.  This is dominated by a beautiful stained glass window which was a gift in memory of a former member.  There is a visitors’ book here, and some pigeonholes that church members use to leave post for each other.

Side doors from the narthex to the left and right lead to the main body of the church, the nave. The access on the right also allows you to go up the stairs to the gallery, although at the moment access to the gallery is restricted because there are still works being carried out there.

The Nave

This is the main part of the church where the congregation sits in services, facing the chancel.  It is arranged with a central aisle with pews to either side and additional aisles along each side of the nave.

 

The front three rows of pews have been replaced with chairs.  Bibles and hymn books are kept in the pews, although when you arrive for a service you might be offered a notice sheet or an order of service that is specific to that occasion.

This picture looks down the centre aisle of the nave towards the chancel.

If the service includes a baptism we try to keep the front few pews free for the family, and on Sunday mornings we try to keep a couple of rows at the front free for the children from Junior Church to sit where they can see what is going on.  Otherwise members of the congregation sit wherever they feel comfortable.

In the centre of the nave there are a couple of places where the pews have been adapted to make it easier for wheelchairs or buggies to be accommodated.

These areas also have screens which relay the images from the main screen in the chancel (when the multimedia is being used) for those who find the big screen hard to read. The main screen is put in place at the back of the chancel (in front of the stained glass window you can see in the picture) as and when it is needed to allow us to use multimedia resources in services.  The church has a hearing loop.

The Chancel

This is the area at the far end of the nave from the front entrance and the gallery, and it is where the people leading a service usually stand. At the back of the chancel is a beautiful stained glass window.

The chancel is raised three steps above the level of the nave so people can see what's going on.

 

At the front of the chancel is the large table used for Holy Communion, which is the altar in our church. To the right of the table (when looking at the chancel from the nave) is the lectern from which most of the service is usually led.

 

On the left of the table is the raised pulpit which some preachers use and which as shown in the picture is reached by going up a few steps from the chancel. You get a great view of the nave and the gallery from in the pulpit, as you can see.

There's quite a bit of space in the chancel behind the lectern and the altar table. This is usually where the music group is located and is also where the choir will sit when there is one.

 

The organist also sits here, just out of sight from the nave. You can see the organ from the nave though, the huge pipes are to the right of the chancel as you look at it from in the nave. It was built by Norman and Beard, who also built the organ in Norwich Cathedral.

The Transept

The church is cross-shaped and the part of that cross that lies across the nave and the chancel is the transept.  

 

The left hand part of the transept has no seating at present. Previously it was where the music group was located before they moved to the back of the chancel. The door from the left hand transept leads into the vestry. This is also a fire escape, particularly suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties as there are no steps on the way out of the church from here.

The right hand part of the transept has chairs rather than pews which makes it more convenient for some visitors and allows us to clear some pace there to create the crèche area for families with small children on Sunday mornings. When multimedia is being used there is also a screen here which relays the images from the main screen in the chancel, which can’t be seen from here.

 

Here in the right hand transept, beside the lectern is the information table. On the table you will usually find an assortment of magazines and leaflets, and whenever there is an opportunity to sign up for something (a trip, some volunteering, a meal or whatever) this is where you're likely to find the sheet if you want to add your name!

 

The door leading out of church from the right hand transept leads to the toilets, and all the halls and rooms, the kitchen, the church's office and the corridor leading to the back door. This is the easiest way into and out of church for anyone needing level access.

Four Oaks Methodist Church

0121 308 7425

office@fouroakschurch.plus.com

155 Lichfield Road,

Sutton Coldfield,

West Midlands

B74 2UU

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