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Our nationally-acclaimed £400,000 restoration is now complete, ahead of the installation of our new pipe organ. Please join us at our Communion service at 10am on the first Sunday of the month.
Welcome to the 12th Century church of St John the Baptist Kingston Lisle. We hold Communion services at 10am on the first Sunday of the month, as well as Christmas and Easter services when the Kingston Lisle Festival Choir performs to a packed church. Our services are celebrated by our Rector, the Revd Leonora Hill. We’re also holding an increasing number of baptisms, weddings and funerals. We look forward to welcoming you into our congregation, which has recently quadrupled to reach its highest levels in at least 30 years. The church is always open though the latch ring is stiff!
Allegedly founded in response to pagan worship on nearby White Horse Hill, the Grade 2* listed building nestles on the north flank of the Ridgeway escarpment and seats 120. Church historian Nikolaus Pevsner notes the iron hingework on the main door c.1200, the 14th Century wall paintings (featuring St Peter, St Paul, Herod and Salome, who is seen dancing provocatively and sporting the head of the Baptist on a platter), the 15th-17th Century woodwork and the stained glass. The Victorians added a vestry, porch and bell tower but left the interior largely untouched.
The church was put on Historic England's “Heritage At Risk” register in October 2014 and we have completed a £400,000 restoration.. Beginning with urgent repairs to the roof, timbers and walls, we've re-rendered the exterior, put in new heating and lighting, conserved the wall paintings, redecorated the interior, improved the seating and flooring, and restored the woodwork. We'll be installing a new bespoke pipe organ as the final stage of the process: this is being treated by the experts as a national model for small church organ installations.
The restoration safeguards the building’s structure for generations to come, transforms it for our growing congregation and other visitors from near and far, and enhances its position at the centre of our community. We reopened the church at a special celebration service on Palm Sunday 2016 with the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester, and our MP Ed Vaizey in attendance. The Kingston Lisle Festival Choir gave the first performance of a new work written for the occasion.
We've been supported by 22 local and national grant providers including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Churches Trust, Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, ChurchCare, the Allchurches Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Idlewild Trust, the Veneziana Fund, the William and Jane Morris Fund and the Wolfson Foundation. Adding donations within the village, the proceeds from concerts, pub quizzes, a literary event celebrating the bicentenary of Waterloo and our international "sponsor a tile" and "sponsor a pipe" programmes, plus VAT and Gift Aid rebates, we're within £5,000 of our fundraising target.
The project featured on BBC Radio Oxford following the award of our grant from the National Churches Trust. We were one of only 30 successful churches out of 700 applications nationally, and the only one in Oxfordshire. We were subsequently chosen to headline the NCT's annual fundraising campaign. Our project also featured in a Telegraph Online discussion about rural church closures following a front page piece in the print edition, and was described by Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch as a national model for church restorations. We're helping the Heritage Lottery Fund evaluate their Grants for Places of Worship scheme, we've recorded a webinar for the Institute of Fundraising and we've presented to a panel as part of the ongoing English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review being undertaken by the Church of England and the Department of Culture as they assess the future of the country's 16,000 churches.
Monthly Communion service
Our monthly communion service is at 10am on the first Sunday of the month. All ages are most welcome and we look forward to seeing you then.
Please visit the village website at www.kingstonlisle.net and select the Church page.
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