Workington Stella Maris Project – COVID-19 impact

The COVID-19 pandemic is a humanitarian crisis. It has had a massive impact, resulting in thousands of deaths and turning lives upside down. The crisis has prevented churches from delivering their mission. It has also impacted on the Workington Stella Maris Project which is dependent on donations to restore and maintain the magnificent church of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Michael.

Potential funding from organisations such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund is not currently available to us, as they, like many other grant giving trusts/foundations are not accepting applications for the foreseeable future.

In addition, the Trustees of Lancaster Diocese have imposed a moratorium on all non-essential spending. This means that we cannot at this stage begin some of the planned and much needed structural work at OLSM. The Trustees have taken this difficult decision as parish finances across the Diocese have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Offertory collections, the main source of parish income, have greatly reduced and will probably remain so until restrictions are lifted.

Despite these restrictions the project group, in consultation with Canon Watson, are working hard to be in the best possible position to enable us to get going as quickly as possible once the crisis is over. Applications are pending for submission to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for repairs to the south transept and to the Albert Gubay Foundation for improved church access/toilet facilities for which planning permission has been granted by Allerdale Borough Council.

We are also seeking a grant from the National Churches Trust to enable repair to the Lady Altar window and the Sacred Heart Altar windows which are in a distressing condition. Our appeal in November 2019 enabled us to make this application to the NCT, who, like many similar organisations require us to have secured a minimum of 50% of repair costs.

Despite the generosity shown by parishioners and friends of the project, we are still short of the necessary finance needed to undertake all aspects of the essential work.

In order that we can move forward once restrictions are lifted, we are asking for further financial help from you. Your help will ensure that this landmark church, that holds a special place in local religious and social history, survives for generations to come.

You can help by:

  • Committing to regular giving or increase your current regular giving.
  • Donate a sum of money – either by using one of the ways listed or by using the donation box affixed to a pillar in the church porch.
  • Sponsor part of the renovation.
  • Include a legacy in your will (Contact the parish office for the wording)
  • Offer shares or other valuable assets.
  • If you want all or any of your donation to be specifically for the Workington Stella Maris Project, please make a suitable endorsement on your envelope, document or gift.
  • If you make payment by cheque, please make it payable to: Christ the Good Shepherd.
  • If donating via standing order/internet banking please use WSMP as the reference. (Forms are available from the parish office).
  • You can also donate via ‘Just Giving’ on the Workington Stella Maris Project website – www.stellamarisproject.co.uk
  • Click onto ‘Donations’ or visit the parish website – www.workingtoncatholicchurch.co.uk  then click on ‘Workington Stella Maris Project’. Again select ‘Donations’. Please ensure your gift is endorsed Workington Stella Maris Project.

If you are a tax payer, please consider Gift Aiding your donation. All money given through Gift Aid means your donation will be worth 25% more to us at no extra cost to you. Gift Aid forms are available at the back of church and from the Priory office. An alternative is to use a My Gift to Christ envelope and endorse it ‘WSMP’.

For example:

£5           – with gift aid we receive £6.25.

£10         – with gift aid we receive £12.50

£20         – with gift aid we receive £25.00

£50         – with gift aid we receive £62.50

Please consider our request and take this opportunity to safeguard the church, thank you.

John Garner

Chair of the Workington Stella Maris Project Group

WORKINGTON STELLA MARIS GROUP – background

The Workington Stella Maris Project Group was Established in 2016 under the Authority of Canon Paul Swarbrick, now bishop of Lancaster, to prepare and deliver a restoration/repair plan for the church of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Michael (OLSM), Banklands on behalf of the Parish of the Good Shepherd. The Objective is to strengthen spiritual, emotional and cultural relationships between the church and the wider community.

The group is made up of volunteers who are passionate that the church should not go into decline but be restored to it’s former glory for future generations to enjoy. This group is Chaired by John Garner , Ann Diamond as secretary, together with Canon John Watson and 4 other Parishioners, all people from not only catholic community but from the wider community who also share a passion that this beautiful church should not fall into decline and forms part of the heritage of Workington Town.
The Group is supported by Conservation Architect, Elaine Blackett-Ord MA (Cons)DipArc IHBC RIBA

The church is now officially on the “At Risk “ register https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/heritage-at-risk/search-register/list-entry/18969

Challenges are expected with grant applications as the group and the parishioners ( following a recent public consultation questionnaire where priorities where established)  are determined to maintain the sacred space.