30 April 2021


To the worshipping community at St Stephen’s, Astley


Dear friends in Christ


As you know, we have been working hard to ensure that St Stephen’s parish church is COVID secure for our return to on site public worship. I would like thank our churchwarden, Elaine for all that she has done and continues to do to ensure that we comply with the necessary requirements to do so.


You will also be aware that we have worked to complete what became known as ‘Phase 2’ of the Raise the Roof project, that is the replacement of the ceiling and electrical works inside the church. Contractors have been on site and have successfully removed the old ceiling. I would like to thank Elaine, Diane and Polly for their combined efforts in bringing us to this point.


However, the removal of the old ceiling has revealed that there is substantial deterioration to the concrete ‘planks’ as they are referred to that form the core of the roof structure. This has led to the suspension of the ceiling and electrical works and the temporary closure of the church building for use as a public space. The contractors have returned to the church and have removed all surface concrete that could potentially have come away and they have installed a mesh across the whole ceiling, other than in the sanctuary, to protect individuals who may be working in the church.


This is a serious blow to us. Fortunately, and I do mean this most sincerely, we are not dealing with either a fatal incident or a serious injury which we may have been as there is evidence of long-standing corrosion to the concrete planks that has not occurred overnight. Likewise we will not be able to put this right overnight. At this stage we do not know what the solution is nor how much this will cost. We are taking this one step at a time and we are actively seeking further details regarding the extent of the problem, the solution and the approximate cost of repair or replacement.


We will keep you informed as best we can when we can. For now, please refrain from entering the church even if you see the doors open and the lights on. Please do pray for us to come to the right decisions as we move forward. For now we will be worshipping on our three-weekly cycle in the school hall and I am extremely grateful to Mrs Southern and her team as well as to Elaine for enabling us to do so.


Martin B Cox



Revd Martin B Cox,

Team Rector and Area Dean of Leigh,

7 Holbeck, Astley, Tyldesley, Manchester, M29 7DU

Tel: [01942] 883313 Email: atmcteamrector@gmail.com






Printer Printable Version