Westminster Record July 2008
Parish Profile St Luke’s, Pinner “Your favourite colour has to be blue if you come here.” Fiona Paley It feels like St Luke’s Pinner is a million miles away from the rush of London’s city centre. Nestled on Love Lane and an hour along the Metropolitan line, it sounded to me like something from an Enid Blyton book. “This is not just a leafy suburb parish,” I am assured as I sit on Canon Robert Plourde’s green couch as he pours tea on a sunny June afternoon. “We have all types here, of course there are affluent home owners, but there are also problem and poor parts of the parish.” Family Solid catechetical work and the family are very much the focus of St Luke’s today. “It is such a good thing to see, amazingly, given the price of houses, the young married couples, babies and children that come to Mass here. It has been even more evident since we started the family Mass which is followed by breakfast; it has really bolstered our community. In fact, that is one of the best things about St Luke’s, I think” confides Canon Plourde. He explains:“When building up a worshipping community you have to support the existing people, but the new people have to feel welcome too. A worshipping community doesn’t stop at the final hymn. That is what we are trying to do here at St Luke’s” I discover that there are both existing people and newcomers at St Luke’s. It is not just a parish full of young new families; rather it is a genuine mix. This includes many people in the congregation who were born in the parish. “Oh, there
is a real rooted ness of many of the congregation,” says Canon Plourde “yet the newcomers are making their mark too.” Altar servers When I ask about youth work in the parish, Canon Robert sighs and says “Unfortunately there is not a school attached to the parish. But we do a lot of catechetical work and we are blessed with our Master of Ceremonies for Sunday Masses. He is great with the youngsters and really encourages them to become altar servers. Some have even come back after University and continue to serve. That is a really good sign I think.” Ecumenism Canon Plourde is keen to tell me about the ecumenical work of St Luke’s. “Pinner Associated Churches is a group of six churches and five denominations (including two Methodist churches). 20 years ago they signed a formal covenant and there was a rededication four or five years ago.” The group meets every month and the Methodist churches join for the blessings of psalms on Easter Sunday and the Easter vigil. “It’s completely normal for the ministers, vicars and priests to go each others significant celebrations such as induction of a new vicar.” Religious orders I also asked about the Grail- a lay community that has been attached to St Luke’s since 1947. The Grail used to be responsible for all the catechesis at St Luke’s, but have been unable to do this for the past 20 years. St Luke’s today has a full time catechist who, arguably, has
St Luke’s, Pinner: the wall behind the altar is bright blue in this very generously sized church the nicest office in the Diocese of Westminster tucked in the rafters of what would have been the old Church. “They are not nuns, but they are committed at the Grail” Canon Plourde tells me. “They are an important part of Pinner’s life despite no longer being so heavily involved due to age and circumstance.” A blue church Tea finished, and Canon Plourde offers to show me around the Church. When we enter the church Canon Plourde laughs as he says “Your favourite colour has to be blue if you come to this church.” And there is a lot of blue. The wall behind the altar is bright blue, intensified by width of the wall and the sunshine pouring in. It is a very generously sized church. “The most generously aisled church I’ve ever been in,” smiles Canon Plourde. It is lovely for liturgy.” Canon Plourde is also eager to show me the Bible at the entrance of the church. “I’ve always wanted to be able to do this,” he says turning the pages, “I think it is really important that if anyone enters the Church, then they can easily find the Word of God there before them.”
The memorial garden of St Luke’s in Pinner, Middlesex
I am also given a quick tour of the Parish Centre. The centre was the old church that was used from 1915 1957, but has since been converted.
The current Church building celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, but the parish will celebrate its 100th in 2014 as Mass was first celebrated on the site in 1914 with just 12 parishoners. It is wonderful to think of the development of this flourishing parish and as I make my way back down Love Lane, I hope that the next 100 years in this quiet but busy parish will be as fruitful.
Further information about the history of the parish can be found in the book ’St Luke’s Catholic Church, Pinner The Story of a Parish’ written by parishoner Bernard A Harrison A donation of £10 to the Parish Jubilee Fund is recommended. Please send cheques, payable to St Luke’s Church, Pinner, to: Canon R Plourde, 28 Love Lane, Pinner HA5 3EX.