Photo by Chris Sansbury on Unsplash

November 2023 letter

Dear Friends

There are practical issues which are proving a challenge for us at St Luke’s Church, as we play our part in helping people remember during the month of November.

On Remembrance Sunday 12th November, we welcome hundreds of local people to the Churchyard as we remember the sacrifice of so many servicemen and women, and also of our forebears, whose resilience has carried our community through world wars, terrorism and other threats of danger. In the last 18 months, the Churchyard has also been a good focus for village Jubilee and Coronation celebrations.

However, just recently we have become aware of structural problems with our perimeter stone walls at the historic centre of the village. A commercial vehicle reversed into the Churchyard wall near the entrance gate by The Old Red Lion, without informing us. A heavy stone was damaged and partially dislodged. Closer inspection has revealed movement of several stones with resultant outward bulging of the wall either side of the gate, which is a serious concern. The large beech trees beside the gate have extensive roots which are too close to the wall and contribute to the bulging. Unless we do something, the wall will continue to lean into the already narrow roadway and eventually fall in. We are consulting with the relevant authorities for a solution which can restore the wall to its previous shape and safety. And we are aware of the need to provide suitable trees planted at a more sensible distance from the historic wall, to complement the beauty of this much-appreciated natural space in the centre of the village.

Our Service to Remember, on Sunday 29th October, was a good opportunity to welcome those who have had a family funeral in recent times, providing a peaceful supportive space to shed a tear and hold a hand. At St Luke’s we are privileged to be able to host many funerals, and we are seeking to respond to the developing expectations of funeral families. In particular, we have noticed increasing requests for the provision of live streaming, so that family members abroad, or friends in care homes may feel part of the funeral, even if they are unable to come in person. Plans have been drawn up, and church money has been provided for two streaming cameras to be fitted, unobtrusively towards the back of the church. We hope that the necessary permissions will progress soon enough, for the benefit of funeral families, wedding parties and any others keen to provide a live link for those who are housebound or far away.

It is not an easy task, managing the challenges of a 595-year-old church, and its lovely curtilage. However, it is an important task. And we will continue to provide for the upkeep of church and churchyard from our own resources, with the help of any others who are willing to contribute. Thank you for your own help and encouragement in providing this attractive base for proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and serving all the people of Holmes Chapel and Cranage.

Yours in Christ,