St Alban & St Stephen, St Albans - Building Fund Appeal 2023

A church that invites you in

Welcome to our Building Fund Appeal

It is over 180 years since Fr William Crook obtained a room at the White Hart Inn on Holywell Hill to say Mass for the people of St Albans. Since then the Catholic Community in St Albans has grown tremendously.  As a community, our forebears have built schools, halls, churches and a presbytery. All of these, along with the parish life that accompanied them, are testament to the faith and vitality of the parishioners who made brave decisions, not simply for themselves, but for the generations to come. Its now our turn to build for the future and to create a parish complex fit for purpose.

Our challenges

In recent years, we have faced a number of challenges:

  • The transfer of the parish from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to diocesan clergy; the pandemic; a changing demographic, and high levels of inflation
  • Balancing the books but by underinvesting in the fabric of the buildings
  • Using legacies well, by doing more than repair and maintain and by imitating our predecessors willingness to build for the future

Our vision for the future of this parish

A key moment in our building back after the pandemic, was the Parish Assembly of 2021. It gave us the opportunity to reflect on the quality of our Welcome, Worship and Witness. Among the pastoral priorities that emerged was the establishment of a group to consider how the parish buildings might better serve our life and mission. In particular, the development of a more welcoming environment where visitors and newcomers might feel more readily at home.

This group looked at different options, and have proposed a three phased programme of development, keeping a number of basic principles/challenges in mind:

  • The need for catechetical spaces
  • The need for sustainability and greater energy efficiency
  • The need for improved accessibility for the disabled and less mobile
  • The need for a more versatile presbytery which could respond easily to any parochial restructuring

A Three Phased Programme of Development

Phase 1 Creating a more welcoming environment for visitors and parishioners

Aimed at facilitating our gathering before Mass and our socialising afterwards Phase 1 will involve the refurbishment of the forecourt and grounds at the front of the Church and the enlargement of the Church Porch. These works will involve:

  • Repairing the structure around the main front entrance
  • The introduction of glass doors across the front of the church
  • The ‘Greening’ of the area in front of the church, setting it within a garden forecourt rather than a car park
  • Doubling the size of the current porch and introducing additional toilet and kitchen facilities
  • The introduction of digital communications
  • Monitors enabling parents, children and those present in the porch to participate in the Mass more fully
  • New kitchen facilities will make summer socials on the forecourt easier
  • In cold and bad weather, it will make meeting and greeting before and after Mass possible
  • A breakout space for catechetics and small groups
  • Ease pressure on the Parish Centre for meeting spaces
  • Additional & more readily accessible toilet facilities
  • A convenient & readily accessible space for socialising and refreshments

Please click the play button to start the video.
Note: This is a conceptual video of how the proposed design could look..

Click on any of the tabs below to see more of the conceptual designs

Panoramic view of the porch/lobby
Click and hold the mouse to move around the 3D space


Scan the QRcode below to view on a mobile or tablet

  • A church set in a garden, not in a car park
  • A place to meet and socialise
  • A church where you can sit and be, inside and out
  • A church that cares about accessibility
  • A church where you can see in
  • A Welcoming Church

Quick access links to important information

Architecture Plans

This section will be updated on a regular basis, providing the answers to the common questions.

Click on the relevant tab below to find out more

This section will be updated on a regular basis, providing the answers to the common questions.

How will the planned works impact on car parking spaces?

  • None of the current parking behind the presbytery and beneath the hall will disappear as a result of the planned works. Three spaces between the house and the church will be affected, but these three spaces will be re-provided in the new off-street parking reserved for the priests plus a member of staff/presbytery guest who at present has to park in the general car park. The current parking spaces reserved for the priests will be given over to general use.
  • The greatest impact on parking would appear to be at the front of the church, but again the impact of the planned works is more apparent than real. Currently, if cars are parked tightly, the church forecourt can accommodate between seven and nine cars, however the usual pattern of parking, with drivers wanting space either side of their cars, means that this is rarely the case. Oftentimes the forecourt’s capacity is reduced to between four and six cars at the very most. Under the new plan the forecourt will comfortably accommodate six single parked cars. So, practically speaking, the planned works will not involve a reduction in the number of parking spaces in front of the Church.
  • For weekday Masses, especially our morning Masses, when alternative parking is limited, I would envisage the forecourt being open for a period of time before and after Mass, thereby maximising parking for those attending weekday Masses. I would however envisage its being gated off at other times in the week, especially in good weather, when the public – those we wish to welcome in – would be welcome to use the forecourt as a place to sit.
  • At weekends I would envisage the forecourt being closed to parking for some of our Sunday Masses, especially those which are popular with families with young children. On these occasions there will be an overall reduction in the number of parking spaces, but this is so that we can deliver a safer environment conducive to the gathering and socialising we wish to encourage, and which builds the sense of belonging and community. At these times there will be a particular emphasis on reserving church parking for the elderly and those with mobility issues. Indeed, the planned works provide for an additional disabled parking space. Others wishing to park at these times will be encouraged to use local parking facilities in addition to that generously made available by Loreto College.

No new updates at this time

No new updates at this time

Phase 2 The redevelopment of the Presbytery

Initially we had hoped it would be possible to demolish the current presbytery and rebuild it as a series of units, some of which would be rented to key workers at a subsidised rate. The likely costs were prohibitive so we are now working towards a significant refurbishment which would:

  • Address immediate health/safety and maintenance issues
  • Improve the energy efficiency of the building
  • Create two purpose-built meeting rooms for parish catechetics
  • Deliver a clear separation between the priests’ living quarters and a modernised suite of parish offices

Phase 3 Refurbishment of the Sanctuary, re-decoration of the Church & cleaning of the Church Organ

The extension of the Church porch will involve the loss of seating towards the back of the church which will need to be recovered towards the front of the church. A rethinking of the current sanctuary will be necessary and will be undertaken once Phases 1 & 2 are well underway and we are clear about the resources at our disposal. That said, it is most likely that the font – currently located towards the back of the church – will be relocated somewhere on the sanctuary and that any new seating towards the front of the church will be in the form of chairs rather than benches. This will allow greater flexibility and be more suitable for the less mobile who have difficulty with the benches.

Our Need is Significant

  • We will use recent legacies to support the proposed works, but we also need to raise additional funds.
  • Delivering Phases 1 and 2 calls for us to raise at least £500,000. With your support, we aim to start the work early next year.
  • We are asking every parishioner to consider supporting this capital appeal, whilst maintaining their current offertory contributions to the continuing work of the church.
  • We do not know, nor will we enquire about, people’s financial circumstances, but we do know that every pledge of money, either as a regular monthly contribution or as a one-off gift, will count.
  • If you are a taxpayer you can gift aid what you give each year as long as you have paid enough tax to cover the gift-aided amount.
  • A pledge is not legally binding. It can be cancelled at any time.

How You Can Help

Every pledge, and every donation will matter. £500,000 is an ambitious target.

Make a pledge and set up a standing order

We are asking all our parishioners to consider pledging a monthly amount over and above their usual Sunday offering and to do so for a period of five years. The Table of Pledges below shows what your pledge might mean to you on a weekly basis and what it would mean to the Building Fund Appeal after five years. Pledge forms are available by clicking the button below.

Table of Pledges

Making a one-off donation or one-off donations over the course of the next 5 years

You may prefer to make a one off donation rather than setting up a standing order. If so, our account details are:

Bank: HSBC-69 Pall Mall
Account name: WRCDT St Albans
Sort Code: 40-05-20
Account No: 21094696

Please specify alongside the transaction some reference information , for example, ‘BF – <SURNAME AND INITIAL>’

If you do not have, or would prefer not to use internet banking, then you could issue a cheque made out to WRCDT St Albans. Your cheque should be accompanied with a note saying that is a donation to the Building Fund Appeal.

Standing Order and Gift Aid Form

Launching our Building Fund Appeal

Our parish priest, Fr Michael O’Boy, launched The Building Fund Appeal on Sunday 17 September 2023. Below is a copy of the text which was used on this occasion.

Launch of the Building Fund Appeal - Text Used

Images Showing The Planned Changes to the Church

Supporting documentation

Please click on the buttons below to see our Towards a Vision Statement and Parish Assembly Booklet, which formed the basis for our Parish Assembly held in June this year, and the resulting Summary and Outcomes Report.

Review the artist impressions of how it might look

Rendered images show how the modification to the front of the church might look

By sliding the blue circle from left to right in the images below will help you visualised the proposed changes

Front elevation showing proposed double glass
doors for ease of access.

New front wall and seating area
parishioners to gather

Gated area for extra security

New Porch/Lobby area

Conceptual designs only - More images to show the design and layout intent