Connect-Enhance-Engage Project

Upgrading our church building

Making the space work for generations to come

The Sunday Praise service congregation at Ottery St Mary church

What is the Connect-Enhance-Engage Project?

Ottery St Mary church is a stunning medieval building and one of England’s finest churches. However its wiring, lighting and audio visual systems do not do it justice. Our Connect-Enhance-Engage project is about renewing and upgrading all our electrical systems to give the best experience of church possible to all who use it.

We want as many people as possible to engage with our building: a church that has been at the heart of our community for so many centuries.

Help fund the project

What are we doing?

While there are so many beautiful treasures in the church there are also problems: trailing wires, ad hoc speaker systems, ugly light fittings and a sound desk that breaks the symmetry of the nave seating. Our project will address these issues in varied ways.

Rewiring the church

After electricity was installed in the church just under 90 years ago, electrical needs have changed and grown with additional wiring being added over time. What we have today are unsatisfactory and often unsightly wiring runs that sone’t meet our needs today. The project will deliver a new wiring system throughout the church, as hidden as possible, easily maintainable allowing greater load capacity and flexibility of use. It will also allow at some point in the future for solar panels to be installed.

Improved sound througout church

The project will improve our audio system eliminating dead spots and interference with the installation of new speakers and sound equipment. The speakers will be mounted sensitively on the pillars, colour matched to the stone with discrete wiring.

Replacing all lighting

Our current church lighting does not meet approved lighting levels, nor does it do justice to the many treasures in the church. The project will bring us inline with current regulation, give greater flexibility of lighting “scenes” and be more economical. We will install focus lighting that highlight the beauty of the church’s unique features.

Ceiling lighting
Focus lighting
A plan diagram of the new ceiling lights
A plan diagram of the new spot lights

Adding nave screens

The current arrangement of mobile screens is cumbersome, visually intrusive and provides only partial visual coverage for the congregation. The project will give us full screen coverage designed and installed to be as discrete as possible. The screens will open up a range of visual engagement for worshipper and visitor alike. 


Improved welcome area

As a church we are passionate about our welcome, even when the church is empty. Our current entrance area is rather muddled and the project will deliver a bespoke welcome desk with displays for visitor information. The current sound desk will be relocated to the back of church allowing us to return the nave pew arrangement to its former symmetry. 

Improved West End

Currently the west end of church lacks flow, and as part of the project we will remove 2 pews to make space for the new sound desk and return symmetry to the seating. The pew platform will be lowered to provide level and so safe access.

How are we funding the project?

The project will cost approximately £500,000. The PCC has been able to secure funding of £350,000 with the kind assistance of the Church Corporation, the Friends of Ottery St Mary church and some other Church grants. However the rest of the money needs to be raised from other grant making bodies and local donations.

We need to raise £500,000 to reach our funding target and we need your help to achieve this.

There are three ways to get involved:

  • buy a pyramid block: see below for how you can contribute towards specific items
  • make a single donation: you can do this online or on a card reader in church
  • join in a fundraising event: there are events running all year as detailed below

So far we have raised £355,000 towards our £500,000 target! That‘s 71% of the total!

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin£500,000Raised £355,000 towards the £500,000 target.£355,000£100,000£200,000£300,000£400,000Raised £355,000 towards the £500,000 target.71%

Contribute towards a specific item

With our pyramid we are looking for 1 donor of £10,000, 2 donors of £5000 , 4 donors of £2500 and so on down to £100 donors. Each time someone buys a pyramid block it will show “donated”. The money donated for each block will be put towards that specific item of the project. If you wish to be a major donor (£2500+), please contact the treasurer directly using the project team contact form.

Buy a block
An image of the donation pyramid showing blocks sold

Fundraising events

Come and join in to help us raise our total. There is a lot of fun to be had fundraising and there will be a wide range of events on offer from concerts to cream teas, as well as special limited tickets for visits to the roof of Ottery St Mary church. If you would like to be notified about new events, please subscribe.

CEE project subscription
Carving Exhibition

Carving Exhibition

August 9th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Carving Exhibition

Carving Exhibition

August 10th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Pop-up cream tea

Pop-up cream tea

August 10th
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Carving Exhibition

Carving Exhibition

August 11th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Carving Exhibition

Carving Exhibition

August 12th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Carving Exhibition

Carving Exhibition

August 13th
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Quiz Night

Quiz Night

August 16th
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Organ Recital

Organ Recital

August 24th
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Shine A Light Banquet

Shine A Light Banquet

August 31st
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The project team

Any project of this complexity and size has to go through a whole set of steps, scrutiny, checks and balances. The PCC is running this project and has delegated the work to a Project Team and a fundraising group. The Project Team appointed a Chris Reading Associates to design the lighting and audio visual systems and the whole project has been overseen by Jonathan Rhind Architects. If you would like to find out more about the project please contact the Project lead using the form.

A photo of the Connect Enhance Engage project team in church
CEE project form

Project timeline and current status

The project plans have been through a lot of scrutiny. Once the initial brief was established the Project Team worked closely with the Diocesan Advisory Committee on the fine detail of the works proposed. When this had been agreed the plans then went to through two consultations, one with heritage bodies and the other with the local community. The tendering process was also very robust and overseen by the church architect.


Dear Lord,
Thank you for the church of Ottery St Mary,
for its long history and beauty,
for the blessing it is on our community.
We lay our Connect – Enhance – Engage project before you in humility.
Give us the wisdom we need to see the project through,
give us the right experts to guide and direct us,
give us the patience to cope with setbacks,
give us the financial support we need,
that we may be good stewards
of this building, but also build your Kingdom here on earth
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

A close up of the face of an altar angel in Ottery St Mary church