A church has undergone a renovation and worshippers can now access the downstairs pews – on a massive meandering slide.
The Diocese of Bristol bought Pattern Church in Swindon in 2018 and since then it has been undergoing redevelopment.
The work was finished at the height of the pandemic and so the building has not had an opportunity to be put into full operational use until now.
The formal entrance to the church in the Wiltshire town takes the congregation to a wide entrance on the first floor – but the church services take place on the lower ground floor.
So now services can be accessed in two ways – via a large staircase or a twisty slide.
Sunday was the first day for the slide to be put fully through its motions and was available for children and adults alike to have a go.
Pattern Church in Swindon, Wilts, is a Grade II listed building bought by the Church in 2018
The Rev Joel Sales, the lead minister of Pattern Church, said: “We want to say actually this is a church for everyone, young and old. It’s quite an austere building and the slide says actually this is a place for everyone.
“As a church we believe God is fun and joyful – so what better way to say that to people than a slide?
“For hundreds of years Christians have been making stained glass window and works of art to convey what God is like.
“This slide is almost like that – people think Christianity is all serious and solemn. Actually, it’s a journey into belief, joy and life.”
He added: “I was keen for the slide. But then it’s Grade II listed, so architects said, ‘actually that’s not a good reason to bash a hole in the building.’
A happy landing for a worshipper trying out the new giant slide at Pattern Church in Swindon
“But most recently it was an Italian restaurant and there was all kinds of plasterboard everywhere.
“In stripping that though we luckily found a hole in the right place. They then said we could do the slide.
“I’ve heard of cathedrals that will occasionally put a helter skelter in temporarily. And I’ve heard of churches with a separate soft play area used for kids.
“But in terms of a slide people use to get into church – I’m not aware of any other.”
Days before the opening of the church, the vicar posted on Twitter: “Two services – nine & ten; masks on; singing is back; chairs closer (with one area still 2m distanced) – slide open for everyone!”
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