Speaking during a presentation in Westminster Cathedral Hall to the Ordinariate Festival (on Saturday 20 September), Fr David Lashbrooke, pastor of the Mission, said his hope and prayer was that, one day, Chelston Methodist Church would become the Parish Church of Our Lady of Walsingham with St Cuthbert Mayne (the Catholic priest who lived in the West Country and was martyred for the faith in 1577).
Fr Lashbrooke said that evangelisation is at the heart of the Torbay group’s mission and that they are “committed to worship, to teaching, to fellowship and to outreach. This church has wonderful spaces for all these things”. He went on to explain that the facilites included a kitchen, where the group could provide hospitality and a space which could, for example, accommodate 30 people for a Bible studies class. There is also room for people who just wanted to come in and read a book or have a cup of coffee.
- He said the first phase of the group’s plan was to raise the money to buy the church, which will cost £150,000.
- Phase two would be to convert the Upper Hall into a worship space to be used by the Mission while the church building itself is being renovated and transformed into a Catholic church – this involves among other things the removal of the organ from its current central position in the east end and the creation of a sanctuary suitable for celebration of the Eucharist. In Phase two the spaces for teaching would also be created in the ancillary buildings.
- Phase three would be to convert the Upper Hall into a presbytery at an estimated cost of £57,000.
Fr Lashbrooke said the Mission planned to achieve all of this “by prayer, obviously, but we are also going to invite people to ‘buy’ a share in the vision”. These spiritual shares, which will be priced at £50 each, will of course not represent a title of part ownership, but everyone donating £50 will receive a certificate and will be included in the Mission’s prayers.
(Editor’s comment: Since the total amount for the church building – £150,000 – and for the subsequent renovation and conversion – a further £150,000 – is very reasonable indeed, this may represent a suitable endowment for one single generous philanthropist or for a group of benefactors. What about it? More information may be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org and cheques made out to the Torbay Ordinariate Mission may be sent to Fr. David Lashbrooke, c/o Holy Angels Catholic Church, Chelston TQ2 6BP.)
“If we achieve this, it will be one way of getting the Ordinariate known for all that it is and should be. It will be a wonderful place of witness” Fr. Lashbrooke said.
Fr Lashbrooke’s presentation – in which he also talked about his group’s charity shop, which he said was a “window into the community and a place of pastoral care” – was one of several delivered at the Festival on Saturday morning.
(This has been slightly amended from a text on the Ordinariate’s website)