A team from MD Groundworks moved into St Lucius' churchyard today to begin work on the first phase of our development scheme.
Heading the team is Mark Dransfield with colleagues Paul Barden and Aden Dransfield. Their job is to dig foundations and install drainage ready for masons to build the extension between the church tower and south-west gable.
The groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction was performed by our treasurer, Brian Mallinson, in the presence of churchwardens Cath Ball and Monica Wells.
Monica said: "We are living in difficult times but we see this new building as a symbol of faith in the future. It will give us more opportunities to open the church to the wider community for all manner of events.
"We are enormously grateful to all those who have contributed so generously to our appeal fund to enable this project to begin. This is just the beginning, but we have confidence that it will come to fruition through the help and prayers of our congregation and the community."
Meanwhile inside church, a team from the congregation moved furniture and other items in readiness for builders to remove plaster from the south west wall, to relocate the font and eventually to break though to create a doorway into the new extension.
Organ builders this week shrouded our 109-year-old Conacher organ in heavy-duty polythene sheeting.
The intention is not to silence the organist but to protect the instrument from accumulations of dust that may be generated during building work at the back of the church.
Even before the doorway is created for the new toilets, an area of plaster is to be removed from the south-west wall and such particles can be damaging to the mechanism, air ducts and pipes of an instrument as old as ours.
We are pleased to announce that work on building the toilet extension at St Lucius' Church is scheduled to begin on August 10.
Several firms were invited to tender for the main contract. After scrutiny of the submissions, it was awarded to the Farnley Tyas company, Roebuck and Holmes.
This first stage of the project is due to be finished by the end of November.
The firm's craftsmen are experienced in ecclesiastical and heritage projects and have undertaken work at St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, London, and at Windsor Castle.
We are grateful to everyone in the congregation and the wider community whose generosity has enabled this important element of the development to proceed. Our appeal is not over, however.
Funds are still sought for further work in church which will include the provision of a new kitchen and the enhancement of the social space.
All the required permissions from Kirklees Council, the Diocese of Leeds and the Almondbury with Farnley Tyas Team Parish Council are in place.
An up-to-date plan of the proposed work, which will be carried out in stages, is available to download, below.
Although St Lucius' remains closed because of the coronavirus, people were invited to bring flowers to the churchyard to create an Easter Garden, as symbols of hope and renewal. There was a generous response, as may be seen from these pictures.
Our organist regularly writes pieces of music to play before, during or after the services at St Lucius'. A Little Song, dedicated to the concert organist Dr Gordon Stewart, is one such composition.
It was inspired by the attractive countryside that surrounds Farnley Tyas. Unfortunately, the church is closed temporarily because of Coronavirus, so the sound is not of our restored Conacher pipe organ.
The first in a series of Lent lunches will be held in church on Wednesday, February 26 at 12 noon.
Others follow at the same time on Sunday March 1, Thursday March 5, Tuesday, March 10, Thursday, March 19, Friday March 27 and Wednesday April 1.
The simple but delicious meals are prepared by members of the church and the community and everyone is welcome to join us.
Two advice sessions on Neighbourhood Watch crime prevention are to be held in St Lucius' Church.
They have been arranged by Farnley Tyas Community Group and will cover the prevention of car theft, house burglary, fraud and telephone scams.
The talks, on Wednesday, April 15 at 1.30pm and on Tuesday, July 7 at 6.30pm, will last a maximum of 90 minutes and will be followed by refreshments.
Meanwhile a free training session on the use of the village defibrillator – sited by the war memorial – will be held in church on Monday, March 2 at 7.30pm.
This event, also arranged by the Community Group, is open to all Farnley Tyas residents.
A quick reminder from Teddy the Cockapoo that our Community Café is in full swing each Tuesday from 9 - 11am and that everyone is assured of a warm welcome, including well-behaved hounds.
Friendly Teddy, above, with his owner Jenny Waind, is a great favourite with adults and children.
Although he can't appreciate the freshly-brewed coffee, he manages to persuade visitors to share a crumb or two from the home-made cakes or biscuits.
Proceeds from the Community Café this year are going towards our development appeal. As one its objectives is to create a larger, more spacious kitchen for the preparation of fresh food, Teddy would no doubt approve.
A congregation of nearly 100 gathered for our Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 15, when the music was led by a mixed-voice choir.
The Farnley Singers, directed by its founder Jim Cowell, was formed specially to sing this service in 2017 and since then the numbers have grown. This year the 16 experienced musicians in the choir stalls included two visiting opera singers from London.
Besides the familiar congregational carols, there were several pieces from the choir. Among them, Harold Darke's timeless setting of In the bleak mid-winter, Adam lay y'bounden by Peter Warlock and Ding Dong merrily on High.
The Rev Professor Jessica Malay led the 11am service, lessons were read by members of the community and coffee, tea, sherry, mince pies and an epic Christmas cake were served afterwards.
Part of the collection will go towards our development appeal.