Congregation at St Lawrence Church in Stoak complete year-long campaign of fundraising
A congregation at a tiny village church celebrated following extensive restoration and repair works.
St Lawrence Church in Stoak has successfully completed a year-long campaign of fundraising and applying for grants to help towards the £134,000 required to bring the Grade II listed, 19th century sandstone building back to its former glory.
The church made a number of successful funding applications, receiving grants from eight bodies including The Church Commissioners, the English Heritage Lottery Fund and The National Churches Trust and is now ‘well on the way’ to meeting the bill.
A special weekend celebration party marked the reopening of the church at the beginning of August and Harvest Sunday.
The church was open and decorated on both the Saturday and Sunday afternoons and there was a special service with the Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Rev Keith Sinclair.
The deputy mayor of Ellesmere Port, Cllr Brian Jones, was also present and representatives from all the organisations that had given grants were invited.
“The church was beautifully turned out with harvest produce, including a massive pumpkin grown by a member of the congregation and a good number of magnificent flower displays,” said the Rev Gordon Welch, curate with responsibility for the church.
A continuous slide show of the work attracted a lot of attention, especially pictures of the church with its roof timbers stripped of slates and open to the sky.
“We were blessed with two warm, sunny days and there was a steady stream of people on the Saturday,” added the Rev Welch.
“Most took advantage of the ploughman’s lunches and the refreshments being offered.
“But the highlight of the weekend was the thanksgiving service on the Sunday. About 100 people crammed into church and extra chairs had to put out to accommodate everyone.”
The bishop preached and complimented the congregation for their care of the building.
Expressing his thanks on behalf of the diocese, he described St Lawrence as a ‘beautiful’ church and said how pleased he was to be part of the celebration.
During the service, offerings of dried goods and fruit were presented at the altar to be given to local charity Save the Family.
The deputy mayor was invited to cut a special celebration cake which was shared among the congregation and everyone was invited to a buffet lunch.
The bishop commented:“It was lovely to be with you and see the transformation in the work that has been done at St Lawrence.”