“Fabulous” re-ordering turns St Luke’s in to a fantastic facility

“WOW, this is fabulous,” was the exclamation from one homeless person at a recent community lunch at the newly refurbished St Luke’s Church in Maidenhead.

The church has undergone £150,000 of work and is to be re-dedicated by the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, in a special service at 7.30pm on Thursday (8 March).

St Luke’s Christmas Tree Festival 2017

When the Revd Sally Lynch became the vicar seven years ago, there was already a working group looking at how to make St Luke’s a more flexible space for worship and for mission in the community.

Now their hard work has come to fruition. The project has seen a new area with comfy seats for parents with small children at the front of the church, rather than having them stuck at the back. The former parish centre is now the parish office. Previously the church administrator worked in a screened off area within the church itself. “The office is now warm, welcoming area where people can talk confidentially,” says Sally.

Working with Acanthus Clews architects, the church has installed a new servery and fellowship area, new storage cupboards forming a horse shoe around the back of the church and the kitchen has been enlarged. There are tables and chairs that are used for events including the monthly community meal.

“It takes place monthly. People at the nearby mosque cook the food bring it over here. Lots of people, including the homeless come in and we all eat together. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are very happy being here. It is now a beautiful, big, airy church,” says Sally.

“We have new glazed doors so people can see from the outside that St Luke’s is a welcoming place. Instead of wrestling a heavy, wooden door, they can see it is easy to come inside. We have a space for people who want to reflect or light a candle and they are really welcome.”

Previously, a screen had been necessary, blocking part of the memorial chapel as it was being used as a vestry. Now, the chapel, which contains the names of all those who died in the First World War, is more open. It will be used later in the year when the centenary of the end of the war is celebrated

A new carpeted area in the nave means that two stretching and breathing classes can take place in comfort at St Luke’s during the week, and it is hoped that the building will soon be used for a host of other activities.