Church playing an active part in community life

church pancake party
Ladies from St Michael's Parish Church serve pancakes on Shrove Tuesday

CHRISTIANS have been active in Lyme Regis for at least 1,200 years but at St Michael’s Church in the town there is today a flourishing group of people that not only hold regular services but also play a wide role in the life of the whole community.

The last week has been typical of the variety of activities that take place every week at the church. On Shrove Tuesday townspeople flocked to the church hall to enjoy the traditional pancakes at a party to raise money for the Get Together Club in Lyme Regis.

Then the following day, which was Ash Wednesday, the church held a solemn service, led by the Vicar, the Reverend Jane Skinner, to mark the start of Lent which leads up to Easter.

Every Wednesday until Easter there will be a Lent Lunch in the Church Hall, starting at 12.30pm, where the money raised will be donated to Christian Aid, a UK charity fighting global poverty and which helps people, regardless of their religion or race, in over 60 countries throughout the world.

Another example of the international dimension of the work of St Michael’s is that it has established links with the Matthew Rusike Children’s Home in Zimbabwe which was founded to assist orphaned and vulnerable youngsters and deals with the growing number of children there in urgent need of care. Earlier this month the church held a fund raising event to raise money for the home.

Music lovers are often drawn to the church by its regular programme of concerts and those performed by the Lyme Bay Chorale always prove very popular. The church also works very closely with the children at St Michael’s Church of England Primary School and its pre-school.

The recent achievements at St Michael’s Parish Church were officially recognised in 2016 when its long serving churchwarden, Margaret McConkey, who has recently retired from this role, was one of just four people in the town to receive an Honoured Citizens’ Award.

The award, presented by Lyme Regis Town Council at the time of the Queen’s 90th birthday, was in recognition of Mrs McConkey’s “exceptional and significant” contribution to the life of the town.

It is believed that a church has been on its current site since 774AD and most of the current building is around 1,000 years old having been constructed in Norman times. Unsurprisingly major repairs are now required and it is hoped to undertake much of the work this year.

This project has received a huge boost by the decision of the current Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, who worships regularly at St Michael’s, to choose the church as her charity of the year. The Reverend Skinner told a recent meeting of Lyme Regis Town Council: “The repair work is a big undertaking and it is a great encouragement to have the support of the mayor.”

Those involved with this imaginatively run church are determined that its work, both for Christians and non-Christians alike, can continue for many more years in the future.

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