“A Great Day Out!”
Summer Outing with Churches Together In Longridge (CTL)
That was the view of the 30 people including 9 from Christ Church, who went on the summer outing to Lancaster, Heysham and Morecambe.
First stop was a guided tour of Lancaster’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, originally St. Peter’s R.C. church. It was consecrated in 1859 but became a Cathedral in 1924 when the Diocese of Lancaster was created; then in 1995, re-ordered and redecorated. It is a spacious Gothic building with a 240 foot tower and spire and wonderful stained glass windows depicting the life of St. Peter, which, with sunlight streaming through, create an immense area of light and peace. One senses too, that as well as a being a cathedral, it has a very strong and supportive parish community.
After coffee we travelled the short distance up the hill to the Priory where again a guided tour had been arranged. Here, there was an overwhelming sense of history with the castle and the priory standing inside the lines of Roman fortifications. The doorway at the west end of the church appears to be of Saxon origin and the first written document, now in the British Museum, is dated 1094, when it became a Benedictine Priory. The foundations built by the Norman Conquerors were discovered during re-flooring of the chancel at the beginning of the 20th century. Despite various wars and the Reformation, the building remains, not only of the utmost historical importance and significance, but a present day ‘living’ church.
By contrast our third visit was to Heysham Wesleyan Methodist Church, a modern building which has been recently totally re-furbished – bright and welcoming, with a calm decor of turquoise and white, plus every modern facility – a feature which aroused some mutterings of envy among those of us (female, I have to admit!) in churches equipped with less than ideal kitchens! The church is in use 5 days a week and has strong links with the community Here there was time to sit down and eat our packed lunches, though there was a certain deep disappointment that the ‘tea’ provided was of the sort that comes in cups – and was not going to be (as one person was convinced) of the edible variety that comes on plates!.
All in all, we deeply appreciated the very warm welcome and hospitality in all the churches which encourages our sense of grass-roots progress in Christian unity.
As the sun was shining and the day was warm, many chose to walk the coastal path from Heysham to Morecambe while others took the coach. The afternoon was spent at leisure along the promenade, with the odd ice cream, sticks of Morecambe rock and lots of photos alongside Eric Morecambe’s statue. Many chose to avail themselves of coffee at the huge and very up-market Midland Hotel, while others discovered that an excellent meal of fish with chips or mash, peas or salad, could be obtained for the price of a cup of tea at the Midland! (though admittedly in a place without the views, the space, the grand surroundings or the atmosphere!)
This was a new venture for CTL but, with such positive feed-back, one which should give us confidence to plan other trips and visits in the future.