Ruach Development Project


Ruach – what’s it all about?

Ruach is our term for describing our response to the changing demands placed on Poppleton Methodists in the 21st century.  The word Ruach is an ancient Hebrew one that when applied to God indicates creative activity and active power.  For us it means our vision of how we respond to the changing needs of the world.  We can’t hide from change; we have to recognise its impact with regards to church and community.

Gone are the days when the church was full every Sunday with people of all ages.  There was a time when most

Illustration of the revised front

mothers of young children were housewives and not breadwinners.  They had time for charitable and community work.  Now many women choose to take just 12 months (or less) maternity leave then return to work.  In Poppleton most young mothers choose to work at least part time.  They find after school activities and holiday clubs for their children.  Children have a vast range of sporting and recreational activities to choose from and for many families Sunday is a chance for leisure time or shopping or visiting relatives.  Our challenge is to find the right ways to enable folk with this life style to engage with the church.  At the same time people are living longer and at some point find themselves living alone after the death of their spouse.  Currently, in Poppleton, it is these retired folk that form the backbone of our active membership.

Photo of Current church & schoolroom

So our Ruach mission is to think about our response to this change in the community.  It’s not about boosting church membership (though that would be nice) it’s more about how Poppleton Methodists can help meet the needs of the community.  A major part of this concerns our building because though it has served us well for over 100 years it now puts constraints on our ability to meet current needs.  Following several years work of contemplating these issues and consulting our congregation and users we have produced a plan for changes to our buildings for which we have now received planning consent.

What do we plan to do?

In summary the changes are as follows:

  • Build a new community hall with kitchen, toilets, stage, seating for 100, access to garden
  • The original 1890 church

    New kitchen and permanent café facilities to serve the community

  • Entrance to the Church moved from the side to the front creating direct access to the rear
  • Remodelled Church interior whilst retaining character of the existing Chapel
  • Sloping floor of church lowered and levelled and pews replaced with chairs
  • Pavement level access throughout the building for accessibility
  • New light and airy enclosed Hub linking all areas
  • New redesigned larger eco-friendly and sensory garden
  • More multi-functional purpose meeting rooms available for community use
  • New toilet facilities
  • New office and vestry space
  • Building services will be eco-friendly using renewable technology
  • Audio visual system linking all parts of the building
  • Increased storage space


Turning the plans into reality – raising the money

We now need to turn these plans into reality.  Much hard work has already been done in getting a design agreed by the church and planning approval from York council but we now need to raise the money.  We are not allowed by Methodist

rules to commence the actual development work until we have raised 75% of the necessary funding.   Our architect has estimated the project to cost nearly on

million pounds excluding VAT.  We hope to raise the vast majority of that through grants and indeed the local Methodist Church which fully supports our endeavour has awarded us £85,000.  We have also applied to the national level of the church for a further grant.

In addition to the grants we have to raise some of the money directly.  We have set ourselves a target based on our membership of £120,000.  We will set about achieving that in parallel with applying for grants.