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.
“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
- 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)