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Westminster parishes come to the aid of Church of St Joseph, Stevenage

There are some remarkable examples in our Diocese of Westminster of parishes helping each other. Our Lady of Victories, Kensington has recently donated a large and powerful relief sculpture of the Risen Christ to a parish at the other end of the diocese and provided help with the cost of its installation.

The newly rebuilt Church of St Joseph, Stevenage stood in need of help with its completion last year. Mgr Jim Curry and his parish finance committee in Kensington generously came to their aid. Their great statue of the Risen Christ by Michael Lyndsay-Clark, recently replaced in Kensington with the beautiful reredos by Stephen Foster, was offered to Stevenage. It now graces the façade of the new church and looks powerfully out across Stevenage. The cost of rebuilding the church had brought the parish of St Joseph’s to the limit of its loan facility and there were still parts of the decoration of the building to be done with no funds to complete the work. These areas included the west front of the church and the empty reredos space on the sanctuary.

Not only did the parish of Our Lady of Victories donate the statue for the outside and help financially with the installation costs, they also provided the reredos framework for the sanctuary. This had been removed from Our Lady of Victories during its refurbishment. In its new location the reredos surrounds the tabernacle and frames the smaller sanctuary in St Joseph’s beautifully.

Canon Robert Plourde and the finance commitee of St Luke’s Parish, Pinner have generously donated funds to help Stevenage begin the process of repaying the debt for the new church and hall. The newly restored Tabernacle is now the focal point of St Joseph’s and was kindly donated by Fr Mehal Lowry from his parish, Holy Cross, Parsons Green. Being too large for their small chapel, it was replaced and now fits into its new location in Stevenage very well.

The great facilitator of all this cooperation between our parishes is Chris Fanning, Chief Surveyor for Westminster Diocese. Chris is also responsible for obtaining the great crucifix, now restored and above the altar at St Joseph’s, which came from Our Lady and St Joseph, Kingsland. St Joseph’s now looks wonderful and the parish offers great thanks to Chris for his unique energy and his skill in knowing where to house religious works of art in locations where they can help new people in their worship and praise of God.

Published: 10 October 2019