Giant puppets, a gospel choir and a steel band led the celebrations as St Luke’s Church opened its new-look church grounds and building to visitors.
New welcome signs and paths enabled people to enjoy the grounds which have been transformed with the help of a National Lottery grant. A variety of gardens and habitats has been created, helping to fulfil the vision for the grounds which is ‘to create a place of beauty and a haven for people and wildlife’.
St Luke’s Brownies built a bug hotel, made bark rubbings, identified butterflies and made bird feeders to qualify for their wildlife badge, while the Rainbows planted a new tree at the front of church to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Local MP Joe Benton (pictured right) opened the new gardens which feature stunning mosaics on the entrance pillars which represent the four seasons. Steve Matthews, who headed up the project team acknowledged the contribution of many people to making the project a success. ‘We do not want the gardens at St Luke’s to be Crosby’s best kept secret’ , he added. ‘We invite the local community to come in and enjoy our grounds, to relax and reflect’.
The gospel choir are part of In Another Place, an initiative of the local churches. In Another Place added an extra dimension to the festivities with its performance of ‘The Shaping of Liverpool’ starring a number of 11’ tall puppets.
The day’s events included a celebration of the ‘new’ church which opened its new glass doors after extensive renovations during the winter. There was a bell-ringing demonstration and a talk on the history of the church and people were invited to write a prayer and stick it on a giant sunflower.
Visitors from near and far were impressed by the new access and remodelled worship area. Rev Canon Pete Spiers, vicar of St Luke’s, said: ‘ It was wonderful to hear so many positive comments - people seemed to agree that the church combines the best of the old with many new features which make the building more attractive and flexible for a variety of uses’.
The weekend continued with a special service on Sunday morning at which Joe Benton spoke movingly about the challenge and privilege of being an MP.
A nature and history trail links the new gardens and habitats. It takes in other features of interest such as the 56 war graves from both world wars, and the grave of a local man who perished in the Titanic disaster. The gardens and grounds are open at any time – combine a visit with refreshments at Crossroads café sited within the grounds.
To add to the celebration of the weekend, the St Luke’s ‘groundforce’ gardening team have been awarded the prestigious Green Flag, a national quality award for green spaces open to the public which are managed to a high quality.