Rev Annie McCabe, priest-in-charge, at St Luke’s Church, Somers Town talks about renewed efforts to engage with the community
THEY thought the church was shut!
That’s the response I had when I first arrived at St Luke’s Church in the heart of the city a few months ago.
As I went out and about to meet people in Somers Town, the university and city centre, I found that most people were unaware the church was there or thought it was shut.
In a way that’s not surprising, since the church did close its doors for a number of years.
It had become hidden behind a jungle of overgrown trees and hedges.
But when I shared the news that the church has been re-opened and is going to be refurbished to better serve those living in the community, now and in the coming generations, the response was incredibly positive.
There is such a wealth of goodwill in the area for St Luke’s to flourish. We have received so many offers of help from local people and businesses.
Portsmouth Water helped track down our missing water supply and Portsmouth Council’s Green and Clean team were on the case to tame the overgrown site.
St Luke’s is the only heritage building close to the city centre and has a unique story to tell in the life of the city.
Half of those living near us are under 30 so it’s vital they see the church is a place and a community that is relevant and welcoming to them.
All sorts of people have popped in to wish us well and to share their stories.
So many remember coming to school at St Luke’s, getting married or christened here. Overseas visitors and students
arriving in the city: office workers and those looking for some space to chill in the week – all are welcomed here and the congregation has doubled in size in the last four months.
Now the church is open in the week and brightly coloured ‘welcome to St Luke’s’ banners festoon the walls, seen by those who pass by on their way to work or school or college.
This October the church begins a process of lively community engagement before the rebuilding work begins next year. Come along and find out more!
ST LUKE’S CHURCH, Isambard Brunel Road, Portsmouth
Sunday services: 10.15am: Family Worship.
Contact: the Rev Annie McCabe (07802-644525 or firstname.lastname@example.org)