More news from Chelston, Torbay

The official Fund-Raising Campaign to purchase the redundant Methodist Church in Chelston for the Torbay Ordinariate Mission is being launched this week. If the campaign succeeds, the church will be the first the Ordinariate has bought for itself since its establishment by Pope Benedict in 2011.

Torbay fund-raising leafletIn the appeal leaflet (click on the picture above) being sent out this week to potential supporters of the project, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton,´says:

“If we are to grow and flourish in the way that Pope Benedict intended when he set up the Ordinariate, we need to acquire buildings of our own so that we can establish them as centres for our particular mission and purpose. The purchase of this church provides a wonderful opportunity to do just that. I warmly encourage you to help in any way you are able to preserve this church as a place of Christian worship, from where the Torbay Ordinariate Mission can reach out to the local community and minister to both its spiritual and material needs.”

Fr David Lashbrooke, a former Anglican priest, now a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate, who leads the Torbay Ordinariate Mission, says the venture is particularly exciting because the site has all the necessary space for a mission community to lead a full liturgical life as well as being able to provide teaching of the faith and offer hospitality to the local community.

Fr Lashbrooke says: “Earlier this year we began conversations with the local Methodist community who are vacating their site at Chelston, Torquay. In a very moving final service the Methodist minister passed on a light from a candle to express his hope that we might be able to keep the Christian flame burning on this site. But we need to act quickly before the church has to be put on the open market”.

The Methodists are asking £150,000 for the site, which, as well as the church, includes halls and a building which could be converted to become a presbytery to house an Ordinariate priest. So far, Fr Lashbrooke has raised £36,000. He is seeking cash donations and/or a loan for the remaining £114,000 to secure the church. If he manages to raise the money necessary for its purchase, phase two of the project would be to renovate the church, for which the estimated cost is £62,000 and phase three would be to convert the presbytery. This would cost an estimated £57,000, making a grand total of nearly £270,000.

A spokeswoman for the Ordinariate said: “The particular gifts which former Anglican clergy and laity bring to the wider Catholic Church through the Ordinariate include a commitment to teaching, mission, fellowship and outreach. This project presents a wonderful opportunity for the Ordinariate to establish in Torquay a tangible expression of the Anglican patrimony with which it enriches the Catholic Church and which has such an important part to play in the urgent task of the new evangelisation”.

Currently the Ordinariate, which has 87 priests and about 40 groups of lay members the length and breadth of the country, has one church of its own (St. Agatha’s in Portsmouth) as well as a number of chapels and oratories, where mass is celebrated. Additionally the Ordinariate has been granted the pastoral care of two churches, both in London, and several Ordinariate priests have been appointed priests-in-charge of the diocesan parishes where their Ordinariate groups are hosted, so it would be fair to say that there are already a good dozen Ordinariate churches around Britain. The church in Chelston, however, would be the first to be acquired outright by the Ordinariate.

  • Anyone wishing to donate to the Torquay church project should send a cheque made payable to Ordinariate OLW – Torbay Group to:

Fr David Lashbrooke,
St Agatha’s Presbytery,
27 Exeter Road,

  • or you can make an international bank transfer to:

Account holder: Ordinariate OLW – Torbay Group
Bank: HSBC Covent Garden
IBAN: GB29MIDL40040932045303

  • or, thirdly, you can make a secure online donation with your credit card by clicking here

As I have written before, this might be an attractive project for one single donor or a group of benefactors and I would warmly encourage you to help in this way if you can. – Ed

(Click on the photo below to access the Campaign poster)

Chelston from SW(this post is slightly adapted from the press release of the
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)

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6 Responses to More news from Chelston, Torbay

  1. EPMS says:

    I note in Msgr Newton’s interview in Portal magazine that the OOLW currently has a fund of £37,000 from which to provide financial assistance upon retirement to Ordinariate clergy who have not accumulated any significant CofE or other pension. I realise that this fund has time to build before it is likely to be called on, but I put it forward as an example of something that IMHO is a higher priority than the acquisition of real estate. Previously I raised a similar point about the new OCSP chancery, a 20,000 sq ft building on a $5 million piece of land. Of course buildings serve a metaphorical as well as a practical function; they are supposed to remind us that the institution is solid, lasting, and positioned for growth. However, as the so-called Crystal Cathedral shows us, symbolism is no substitute for financial planning.

  2. sottocapo says:

    How else can we donate other than cheque? I haven’t used a cheque for years (at least a decade)! I am also outside the UK, can Fr. David give bank details for an account for the Torbay group (i.e. IBAN and sort code etc.)? Love the Ordinariate but it is relatively low tech.

    Also EPMS you have it the wrong way round, evangelisation should always be the priority. With bigger congregations there will be more support for pensions. But then you do always see the glass as half empty! Do you mean Christ Cathedral in Orange County (Crystal Cathedral as was)? That is full to bursting with local Catholic congregations?
    They have 12 masses Saturday and Sunday and 12,000 people attending and the Cathedral is not renovated yet.

  3. EPMS says:

    Yes, I was referring to the building commissioned and formerly owned by the Reformed Church in America before it went bankrupt in 2010 and sold it to the local Catholic diocese. Your attendance figures are impressive but in fact the building is under renovation to adapt it to Catholic worship and will not reopen until 2016.

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