CAPTION: Buffet supper guests included Geoffrey Cox MP for Torridge and West Devon, Tavistock mayor, Philip Sanders, West Devon mayor, Jeffrey Moody and diocesan Mission Resources Adviser Katie Stevenson (far left)

Appeal launched to safeguard the future of Tavistock church

Posted: 17th July, 2017

An appeal has been made to the community to help secure the future of Tavistock Parish Church as it prepares to celebrate its 700th anniversary next year.

Vicar, the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, speaking at a buffet supper attended by 150 guests at the town hall on Friday night, said: “Moving forward we face a challenge. Last year it cost the church £174,000 to do all that we did, but with total income of £155,000 a year, we have a funding gap. It is a shortfall of £19,000 a year –that is £365 every week, nearly £52 every day.

“We are entirely self-financing and receive no financial support from the government, or the national church, or from endowments, and so we are looking as a matter of urgency to bridge that gap”.

He stressed that the church was working hard to reduce its deficit and for its anniversary its priority was to eliminate the existing deficit to secure a firm, financial footing for the future. ‘To do this we need your help, please, to add to the support of those within the church. Can we dig deep?’

The supper, to launch a new programme for St Eustachius’ called “The Way Ahead – Supporting Your Parish Church”, included a sit-down meal, slideshow, musical entertainment by the choir and vocal and piano duo Gin and Pimms, plus guest speaker, Canon Dr John Rea. James Teague gave an overview of finances and Katie Stevenson spoke about the Community Giving Scheme.

Dr Hardwick said church organisers were optimistic about the future and funds were already set aside for the first phase of the 700th Anniversary project; to make the vestry roof watertight. He also outlined aims for a longer term re-ordering plan, which include the provision of a new galley and toilets and an improved heating, electrical and sound system; enhancing the church’s musical provision through a new chorister/organ scholarship scheme; an enhanced programme of concerts and events; re-instating access to the church via the tower using landscaping and a lych-gate to “re-connect” the church to West Street.

He added: “Other plans to mark our 700th anniversary through a variety of church and community events are progressing well and will happen – 2018 promises to be a busy and exciting year!”

James Teague, a Tavistock businessman, said: “This is about building a community. It’s about everybody. I am not a religious person and am not part of the worship – I don’t come from a religious sect at all. I have been working with St Eustachius’ for some years helping to optimise our income – our finances are under control as much as they can possibly be.

“We can’t re-order the church if we are just about managing. The bread and butter is just about managing, so this is about the cream.”

Anyone wishing to support St Eustachius’ Church is invited to contact the Parish Office on 01822 61667, email or view more details at the church.