Monday, 21 January 2019

Humans of Shepherd's Bush: No 10

"I first walked into St Stephen’s Church in 1985 and all my family and I still attend. My position is Chair of the Church Committee, which oversees all the business of the church; but really I see my role as one of drawing people into the community that the church provides, whether it’s through being on the weekly rota for lay duties (reading, prayers, refreshments), or singing in the choir, through helping in the Sunday School, welcoming people who have moved to the area and getting to know them, or through collecting up rubbish in the churchyard and looking after the garden.

Another of my roles is Chair St Stephen’s Roof Fund Committee. The slates on the roof are old and wearing out; in addition the church was badly repaired after bomb damage in 1940, so there’s a growing number of holes in the structure and when it rains, the roof leaks.

We are in the process of raising £200,000 to carry out this work and we’re looking into using photovoltaic slates, for which we may need to raise extra funds.

St Stephen's Church, Unbridge Rd
To date, £105,000 has been raised, entirely by our own efforts, which represents a fantastic level of support from parishioners, local residents and friends from elsewhere.

Contrary to what many people seem to think, the Church of England has no funds available for church repairs. However, now that we are over half way to our target, a number of grant-giving bodies can be applied to for funding.

Christ’s wider church is composed of many worshipping communities, of people seeking a glimpse of God’s grace that is freely available to everybody.

Our community is fortunate in being able to worship in this fine church, built by our predecessors amid fields beside the highway to the West, and it is our duty, as its current custodians, to ensure that it remains fit for future generations to use.

Missing slates on the church roof
St Stephen’s Church is a landmark on the Uxbridge Road and one of the oldest buildings in the area; built in 1850, it is a historic Grade II listed building. Even if you've never entered the church, you have probably walked past it countless times.

In a world of change, it stands for solid values and continuity, a caring heart to the community where anyone can find a welcome, whether what you seek is a relationship with God or answers to life’s daunting problems.

St Stephen’s hosts two other church groups, we host concerts and a summer festival with Communion Music, meetings, theatre groups, outreach projects and many more events in addition to what you’d expect, from baptisms to funerals, lots of music.

St Stephen's Community work
Each Monday we serve a home cooked hot meal to 70-100 homeless people or hostel dwellers, we welcome older people to a lunchtime cinema club where they can meet friends and watch a film together, and we host parents and toddlers to a playgroup in the hall in the morning.

St Stephen’s School is closely linked with the Church and together they provide a strong focus for the community. Ballet classes and children’s tuition happen in the church hall, children’s parties, counselling and baby classes all take place.

St Stephen's Congregation
The church enables us to provide all this and more for the local community, not just worship for the regular congregation. This is a building that is constantly being used, offering what people in Shepherds Bush need, even if it’s only enjoyment of the green space that forms the churchyard. If you took away the church, Shepherds Bush would become a shadow of a place, without focus and without a heart.

We need donations, big and small, to help us pay for a new roof. You can read more about the church and why the roof needs replacing on the Roof Fund Website. If you like, go straight to the Donate Now page or follow this link to VirginMoneyGiving.  If you would like to become a major donor, or would like more information on the project, please contact the roof fund administration via"

The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story, email us at shepherdsbushblog(at) And don't forget to add your opinion in the comments section below.

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