“So the church bells will be ringing at 10am on Wednesday 17th in Charlton Village to mark the reopening of St Luke’s. And they’ll be ringing in Woodland Terrace and Maryon Road at 10am on Thursday 18th to mark the re-opening of St Thomas’. We’ll be delighted to welcome any member of our community who seek a place to pray, reflect or just to think. Our opening times are on the website and displayed outside the buildings. The church is NOT a building – it’s the people who follow Jesus. But it is good, after almost 3 months, to open the doors again.”
Thursday 10 am – 12 noon
Sunday 2pm – 4pm
“Everyone is welcome to come into the buildings to pray, reflect or just to think in a place of peace. Visitors will be asked to observe hygiene and distancing guidelines in the interests of everyone’s welfare”.
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.
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.
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.