St Mary’s is not just a piece of history or Lewisham’s oldest building: St Mary’s is its people, a strong and vibrant Christian community today, proud of our tradition, celebrating God’s love in this place and serving the needs of those who live here. Over many centuries the people of St Mary’s, including William Hatcliffe, Revd Abraham Colfe, Joseph Prendergast and many others have founded schools and almshouses, and cared for the poor, the elderly, the sick and those in need.
In our RENEWAL process we seek new ways of continuing this work and an important part of our vision is to care for and protect the heritage of this beautiful listed building. In the coming months we will be working with Heritage Lottery and with Historic England to repair the damage and renew the main roof, and to assess the building’s wider needs. But we are clear we are not here simply to preserve a lovely historic building – St Mary’s must serve the needs of its people and the community of Lewisham.
We plan to open up our building every day as an oasis of peace and prayer and encouraging more to come in and learn about our history and heritage. We will build on our extensive work with local schools and continue to develop St Mary’s as a centre for music, art and creativity.
We are working with friends from the Ladywell Unit to develop part of our churchyard as a therapeutic garden. We are working with other mental health service providers to support recovery and well being in people struggling with life’s pressures. St Mary’s is an oasis of calm in our busy world, as well as a community of action and service to those in need.