St Luke’s Millwall church reopening 78 years after London Blitz bombing of Isle of Dogs
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Worshippers are getting their new church on the Isle of Dogs that is finally “healing the wounds” seven decades after their Victorian building was destroyed in the Blitz.
The opening of the new St Luke’s at Millwall is being blessed by the Bishop of Stepney on October 18 in a service of rededication to mark the resurrection of the Anglican parish that vanished in an enemy air-raid in 1940.
“The new church will serve as an inspiring landmark,” Bishop Adrian Newman said. “The decision to rebuild the church is a response to today’s needs of a flourishing Isle of Dogs community.”
This will be his last major engagement before retiring as Bishop of Stepney after seven years.
The new complex in Alpha Grove, which had its spire lowered into place by crane in April, replaces the 700-seat Gothic-style church built in 1873 in Strafford Street which in turn replaced the original iron-built temporary place of worship in 1865, known as the ‘Iron Church’.
The parish had to be absorbed into the neighbouring Christ Church in Cubitt Town after the church was destroyed 78 years ago.
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Christ Church vicar Tom Pyke said: “A new St Luke’s marks the healing of the wounds of the Second World War. We are now laying down our trowels in 2018 with the church complete. It has been well worth waiting for.”
The community has had to hold services at the nearby Alpha Grove centre until the complex is ready.
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The fundraising appeal stated: “Sometimes it takes a long time for the scars of the past to heal. The community has carried on with a makeshift chapel tacked on to the church hall since the war. This was never meant to be a permanent solution.”
A winter night shelter for the homeless is planned in the new complex, while a boxing club is to focus on outreaching youths at risk of drifting into crime.
Pupils from nearby St Luke’s Primary School are taking part in the dedication service on the 18th.
The church has been planned by the Diocese of London for the future needs of the parish as the Isle of Dogs’ population rises by another 10,000 over the next decade.