A NEW church extension could help bridge the gap between Summertown and Cutteslowe residents, a vicar believes.

St Michael and All Angels’ Church, in Lonsdale Road, is planning to extend its west side for toilets, a kitchen, offices, storage and a meeting room.

Now the Rev Gavin Knight is organising a survey to ask residents for their views on what facilities they want.

He said: “There are probably more PhDs in this parish than there are anywhere else in the country, but there is a need for something more to bind us all together.

“In the past the church would just serve its own but now I see everyone in the parish as part of my concern and in Summertown and Cutteslowe there are plenty of needs not being met.”

He likened the divide to the Cutteslowe Wall, erected in 1934 to separate the estate from private housing and torn down in 1959.

He said: “Sometimes it feels as if the Cutteslowe Wall is still standing because people in different parts of the ward can be confined to certain areas.”

“We want to break divisions down and ask people how we can make a difference in the community. We hope the church can be a glue that holds people here together, whatever background they come from.”

Exercise sessions or parenting classes could be amongst new additions, he said.

He added: “As far as I am concerned, we have a blank canvas. It depends what people’s needs are, that may include adding more buildings and if so we would be prepared to fundraise more for that.”

The Rev Knight, who has been in the post for three years, added: “I now feel qualified to do something and I think the time is right. The extension we are currently planning is the perfect opportunity for us to ask people how they think it can be made useful.”

The extension to the church has not yet been costed.

To take part in the survey, contact the Rev Knight on vicar@stmichaels-summertown.org.uk

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