New church to join East London skyline
A new church and significant landmark has appeared on the East London skyline as the nearly completed St Luke’s Church, Millwall celebrated the installation of its new church spire.
The installation of the 14m high spire marks an important step forward in the St Luke’s project, designed to provide a new parish and place of worship for the thriving Christian community living on the Isle of Dogs.
The area, whose local population is one of the fastest growing in Europe, is currently served by only a single parish, Christ Church, Manchester Road. But once complete the new church and accompanying community centre will serve as a permanent home for the growing congregation led by Priest Missioner Ed Dix, which currently worships at the nearby Alpha Grove community centre.
The new St Luke’s, Millwall takes its name and location from the old parish of St Luke’s which was amalgamated with Christ Church in 1965, following irreparable damage to the original church building during the London Blitz, as well as a significant post-war decline in the local population.
The decision by the Diocese of London to reconstitute the parish is a reflection of the rejuvenation and growth of the Christian community in East London, as well as the new and innovative ways in which the Diocese is working to meet the needs of emerging congregations.
The construction of the new church is being led by main contractor Phelan Construction, and the new building, made from glass, aluminium and handcrafted brick, represents a combination of traditional and contemporary building styles.
The newly installed high-tech timber spire will also function as a street light, allowing St Luke’s to serve as a literal beacon throughout the local community. Other modern features include a church bell – retained from the old St Luke’s – that can be rung by the vicar remotely, using an iPhone app.
The grand opening of St Luke’s Church is expected to take place in summer 2018, with Revd Ed Dix serving as its first incumbent.
The Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, said:
“St Luke’s, Millwall is a fantastic example of how the Diocese is working confidently to foster its ministry in East London. The decision to rebuild the church by the Diocese is a response to the needs of the flourishing Christian community on the Isle of Dogs, and once open the new church will serve as modern and inspiring landmark across the local area.”
The Revd Ed Dix, Priest Missioner at St Luke’s, Millwall commented:
“With so many new homes being built all around us on the Isle of Dogs, the church family at St Luke’s is overjoyed that we too will soon have a new home, to share with each other and with our local community. Our vision as a church is to be overflowing with the life of God, and the installation of the spire on the new church building so soon after Easter is a big sign to our neighbours that we are here: to be a blessing to all, and to point people to the Risen Lord Jesus.”
Fr Tom Pyke, Vicar of Christ Church, Manchester Road said:
“A new St Luke’s Church marks the healing of the last wounds of the Blitz and WWII, and the opening of a new, confident and faithful future for Millwall. In 2003 we took up our pens to begin work designing St Luke’s. In 2018 we will lay down our trowels, with the church complete. It has been well worth waiting for.”
Sean Carter, Contracts Manager at Phelan Construction said:
“We at Phelan Construction are so honoured to have been a part of this landmark project in the Isle of Dogs area. We overcame some unique challenges with this project, with the erection of the 14m high spire, with associated Cross, and the installation of the glazed east elevation both requiring road closures of a busy public highway. But I am proud to say our site team took it in their stride and managed the public and adjacent residents perfectly, while safely constructing the project that the client is now delighted with. We hope the local community will enjoy the new Saint Luke’s church for many years to come.”