Tuesday 23 February 2010

St Bride's

Interlude over; back to Old Trafford and a photo of a place which, for our family, was a focal point of life and will always be a special place for me. This is St Bride's. It is one of very few churches bearing this name. There are a small number in Scotland, but the only other English ones that I know of are in Liverpool and in Fleet Street, London.

This building is obviously modern. It was constructed in 1991 and replaced the more traditional building which stood on this site from 1878 to 1989.

I have lived in Old Trafford twice. The first time was in the mid 80's and this old building was my place of worship. By the time I moved away in 1987, the chancel of the church (the area containing the altar; or communion table) had been cordoned off due to the risk of falling masonry. It was a hard hat only area!

My other memory of the old building was that the warmth of the people was only surpassed by the refrigerator-like internal temperatures in mid winter! Even wearing many layers, it was difficult to survive a service without being chilled to the bone. As a result, we took to closing the church for the winter, and our morning services were held in the Community Centre across the road.

Eventually, the church was de-consecrated and the Community Centre became our temporary home as the old building was demolished. I was back in OT by then, so watched it being taken down piece by piece and then replaced by the building which stands today. The rectory (to the rear of both photos) became a Parish Centre and a new rectory was built where the original church entrance had stood. The corner of the Rectory parking area is visible in my photo.

Although it is sad to see traditional buildings disappear from our cities, this 'new' Worship Centre is a flexible space which is practical, welcoming and a great place to meet with God. I still feel like I belong.

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