Friends of St. Luke’s first meeting: learn about the history of the church and future plans

Cherub above St. Luke's church door in Charlton
The cherub above the door of St. Luke’s church. Photo © Neil Clasper

A message from the Friends of St. Luke’s Church about an upcoming event and plans to restore the church door.

The first meeting of the Friends of St Luke’s will be held at St Luke’s on Wednesday 19th February, starting at 7.00pm ahead of a historical introduction to the building led by Joseph Spooner at 7.30pm. Joseph will be sharing his wealth of knowledge, as well as revealing some hitherto overlooked or under-documents aspects of the building and its history.

Refreshments include cheese and wine. Entry is free to those who have already signed up as Friends or who sign up as Friends on the night, otherwise entry is £10.00. The recently published and well-received Portrait of St Luke’s will be available for sale on the night for £5.00 rather than the usual £7.00.

Invite to Friends of St. Luke's event

Main door plans

As part of our contribution to the improvement of Charlton Village, the Friends of St Luke’s are looking to raise funds for the main door to be repaired and represented. Locals may recall that about thirty years ago it was painted blue but has long since faded and needs repair as well as repainting.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in 2018 and established that the door is oak and has been in place since the church was rebuilt in 1630. Furthermore, under the at least twenty layers of paint revealed by high magnification and ultraviolet examination, the door was originally painted ‘warm brown’, possibly with ‘brush-grained decoration intended to imitate hard wood such as walnut or oak’.

Presumably, in the days long before DIY products that do what they say on the tin, it would have been impractical to have left the original oak uncovered. In re-presenting the door we would also ensure the cherub above the door gets a fresh gilding, noting in passing that the cherub is also found on one of the mantlepieces in Charlton House.

Find out more about the Friends of St. Luke’s.


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Become a Friend of St Luke’s and help protect Charlton’s historic church

St Luke with Holy Trinity church needs help with restoration

St Luke’s Church in Charlton a much-loved local landmark – but it needs funds to help restore it, and volunteers who can help keep it open so more people can discover what’s inside. Church warden RICK NEWMAN invites you to become a Friend of St Luke’s…

Largely unchanged for almost four hundred years after being rebuilt in 1630, what was once a village church in Kent, St Luke with Holy Trinity is the church in The Village in Charlton. Not only the final resting place of Spencer Perceval, the answer to that well worn pub quiz question “name the only British prime minister to date to have been assassinated,” St Luke’s is a Grade 2* building of “exceptional historical importance”. There are frequent enquiries about St Luke’s from near and far, with many keen to visit and to know more about its history.

There also those with memories to share, recalling the place where they grew up or where their parents and grandparents were baptised or married. While the days of up to four weddings on any given Saturday might be a distant but happy memory, St Luke’s remains a thriving and active Anglican parish church at the heart of Charlton.

Inevitably, the upkeep and maintenance of the building remains a challenge. In response to these needs, the Friends of St Luke’s is being launched to increase awareness of this remarkable building in our local community and far beyond. The aim is to raise funds towards restoration, repair and development to make the building a community hub and fit for mission in the 21st century.

It is also an opportunity to develop a group of volunteers who can ensure the building is open more often as part of our mission for even more engagement with visitors and locals alike. The church is always open on Sunday and Wednesday mornings for Holy Communion / Parish Eucharist, as well as open for Morning Prayer at 8.30am from Monday through to Thursday. Whenever the door is open at other times there are always visitors, whether by arrangement with local schools or walking tours, or simply those who were “just passing”.

We would love to be able to be open more often and to do so we need to develop a group of volunteers.

Annual membership for The Friends of Luke’s is £15 for individuals, £20 for a couple. Life membership is £50 for individuals and £90 for a couple. Further information about the Friends of St Luke’s and how to become one is set out in a leaflet available in St Luke’s or on the church website.

To coincide with the launch of the Friends of St Luke’s, a beautifully illustrated 36-page guide and history has been produced for sale at £7.00; couples or individuals signing up for life membership will receive a complementary copy.

St Luke’s welcomes people into a place where prayer has been offered for 1000 years; with care and support it will stand for many centuries to come.

You can find more details and sign up at www.charlton.church.


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Listening to the community: Why Charlton’s C of E churches have launched an action plan

St. Luke's Church, Charlton
There has been a church dedicated to St Luke in Charlton since the 11th century

Charlton’s two C of E churches, St Luke’s and St Thomas’, are pledging to do more in the community over the next few years. REVD LIZ NEWMAN, the rector of the Benefice of Charlton, outlines its new action plan, which includes setting up a youth cafe and schemes to combat loneliness and social injustice.

What is mission? In the Church, one short answer to that question is that it’s “finding out what God is doing and then joining in!” But before we can join in, we need to listen to what’s happening.

At St Luke’s and St Thomas’ churches, we’ve been doing a lot of listening over the past year. Listening to our community, to ourselves and to God. As a result we’ve come to some conclusions about what we believe God is calling us to be and do. And we’ve decided on our priorities for the next three to five years.

So what is top of our list? Where are we going to put energy, time and love?

  • Engaging and nurturing children and young people
  • Sharing our faith confidently
  • Reaching isolated groups
  • Better community engagement

The recent United Nations report on poverty in this country highlighted shocking statistics about the impact on our poorest communities of living with little. Knife crime and gang culture is taking and ruining far too many young lives in our city. We live in challenging times of injustice, and that is a concern to people of all faiths and none.

Jesus was on the side of the poor and dispossessed, and following his example means we need to be as well. We are already part of Greenwich Winter Night Shelter, which houses 15 homeless people through the coldest months of the winter. And we have plans to start an open access Youth Café, to strengthen and extend our existing Schools Project, to run fun activities for children during school holidays, to develop a mental wellbeing project and a social justice project and to grow a project that will combat loneliness.

Charlton is a place that is set to grow hugely in the coming years. We need to be able to live together well, so that everyone can belong and flourish. St Thomas’, St Luke’s and St Richards Church Centre want to work with our local communities for the good of all.

We have plans to make connections with people and places in our local area that we haven’t had relationships with before, to develop our churches as community hubs and to continue to work with other local people and the council to ensure that Charlton Riverside becomes a true community where there is plenty of affordable and social housing.

Our faith motivates who we are and what we do. Because we believe in a God of love, in whose sight we are all precious, we want to meet people where they are and help them discover that good news for themselves. So we’re building our own confidence and aiming to grow new congregations at St Luke’s, St Thomas and St Richard’s. They won’t necessarily look like traditional church, because traditional church isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But that’s fine, because if church listens and adapts, there is room for everyone. And of course, we’ll be aiming to grow traditional church as well!

The teachings of Christ underpin all that we do. We’re striving to be people who are joyful, live in loving relationship with God and our neighbours, are good listeners, forgive, work for justice and celebrate diversity. We have a lot of plans and we know we’re being ambitious! But we are trusting and living in hope. And on the way, we’re expecting to discover what we’re here on this earth for.

We believe Charlton is the place that God has given us to love and we look forward to doing just that over the years to come. If you want to know more, please visit our website at www.charlton.church. And, whoever and whatever you are, you will always be welcome at our churches and to join in the adventure that lies ahead.


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