Here in the UK’s friendliest village, we’ve a lot to be thankful for, and one of the places many of our residents go to give thanks and celebrate their Christian faith is St Michael’s Parish Church.
I Love Bramhall dropped in on St Michael’s, which our readers may know as the location for our annual Big Bramhall Tea Party, to find out what makes the parish church such an important part of our community.
Beginning as an offshoot of St Thomas’ Church in Stockport back in 1890, Bramhall’s parish church – located at the junction of Robin’s Lane and St Michael’s Avenue – was actually built some 20 years after the church group was formed. In the years since, the church buildings have been added to; visitors are welcomed through a contemporary glass entranceway and into a bustling foyer filled with friendly faces and doorways into various rooms, including a large function space, meeting room, office and kitchen, as well as the main church building.
A lot happens here; services are held on Sundays and mid-week, there are daily morning prayers and regular baptisms, weddings and funerals, too. In addition, various groups meet at the church, including Active Angels baby and toddler group, Praise and Play, ACE arts and crafts, Flower Club, Guides and more. The function room is also rented out for activities such as exercise classes, dance sessions, slimming meetings and special events, and the church holds regular coffee mornings, as well as soup and chat lunches – there’s always something going on!
Interim minister Reverend Calum Piper joined the team in July 2017 after serving at a church on the Wirral for three years. Now based in Altrincham – and his wife in Bowdon, where she ministers at St Mary’s Church – Calum clearly has the patience of a saint, commuting to Bramhall every day and directing all the different aspects of church life. Luckily, he also has a great team of people on hand to help out; many of the volunteers have been actively involved with St Michael’s for most of their lives and enjoy maintaining what has become a vital community resource.
The cuts in services across communities means that many areas are now without a village hall, and Calum is keen to ensure the church serves Bramhall’s residents by providing a useful space for events, meetings and more. Everyone is welcome at St Michael’s, which works to the principles of community, inclusion and discipleship. The church is committed to exploring faith and welcoming all members of the community, offering a wide range of ways to get together, socialise and enjoy being a part of the church.
A key focus for 2018 is ensuring that the church community is accessible for families; to this end, the parish already holds a monthly service called Kaleidoscope, which caters for all ages and is led in music by the congregation’s youth. In the Easter school break St Michael’s will be running a holiday club on Thursday 5th April and in the autumn the church is hoping to introduce a 4pm Sunday service. In the meantime, Calum and the team will be holding a consultation with local teenagers to find out what the church can offer for this age group, too.
Their recent family-friendly Narnia Festival – running from Friday February 9th until 11th – is also a way of welcoming families into the church; over the three-day period St Michael’s will be encouraging people of all ages to explore their faith through the classic C S Lewis tale by transforming the church into key locations from the book. Enter the ‘wardrobe’ via the door to the church, walk among real trees and experience winter courtesy of a snow machine! Follow the trail around the church and meet the different characters, including the White Witch, Mr Tumnus and Mrs Beaver, to learn more about their roles in the symbolic story.
Visitors will have the opportunity to watch stone statues come to life as the winter snow melts away and try on kingly robes at the castle of Cair Paravel for a truly sensory experience that promotes the sharing of faith through the story of Narnia.
For more information about this fantastic family event, or to learn more about St Michael’s, get in touch using the links below.