Happy Birthday, St Lucia's!
On Sunday 21 January a congregation of 110 parishioners and friends filled the tiny church of St. Lucia in Dembleby to capacity, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its consecration in 1868. The Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln, presided at the Eucharist, assisted by the Revd Nick Munday, Rector of the parish.
Completed in 1867 for a total cost of £1,200, the church replaced the original 12th century building which had fallen into disrepair and was too small to accommodate the farming community of the time. Sleaford architect Charles Kirk was commissioned, and his design was based on the Norman Chapel at Steetley in Derbyshire. Locally quarried stone was used in the construction and it is thought that features of the original church were reused, notably the vestry arch and the 12th century stone pillar piscina now used as a font.
In a ceremony similar to that undertaken by Bishop John Jackson 150 years earlier, the choir led a procession of the Bishop, Rector and churchwardens David Bramford and David Cromie carrying new wands of office. During the service the altar frontal was dedicated and the Bishop delivered a sermon that emphasised the central importance of the church in the village as a ‘telescope’ through which the community can look to God. After the service the congregation retired to a marquee in Church Farm for a champagne and buffet reception. In addition to cutting a commemoration cake the Bishop presented David Bramford with a Bible and Book of Common Prayer to recognise his 38 years of devoted service as churchwarden.