THE first phase of a major project to transform a town's church has now been completed.

Anyone visiting St Mary’s in Ross-on-Wye over the past few months will have noticed that there has been quite a lot of building work going on inside the church.

This is part of a project to make the church better suited to worship in the 21st century and better equipped to serve all sectors of the community as a versatile space appropriate for a variety of purposes.

New kitchen facilities have been installed so that refreshments can be served after services or concerts.

Reverend Sarah Jones said: "We really wanted to provide proper facilities for the town for services and events and to make people comfortable and welcome when they visit St Mary’s.

"St Mary’s is the church for the whole town and so we’d like to invite everybody to an open weekend on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 of February where they can see the new facilities and find out what goes on at their parish church."

A glass fronted children's room has been installed so children can see the service and be part of it while also having a comfortable and warm space for their own activities.

The church has installed toilets and has created flexible space by removing pews and buying chairs which can be moved as needed.

There are two more phases to the work - the next one includes the removal of the remaining pews and replacement of the flooring underneath which they hope will be finished by the end of this year.

The open weekend will include open access to the new facilities along with more than 20 stalls and displays showing the outreach and pastoral work of St Mary’s. There are guided tours of the tower and churchyard and an opportunity to ask as many questions as you like.

On Saturday evening there is a community concert by The Roaring Megs and The Phoenix Theatre Singers and the whole weekend will be rounded off with an opportunity for people to come and sing a celebration Evensong at 4pm on Sunday with St Mary’s choir. Full details are on St Mary’s web page at