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In the Lakes

August 13, 2012

A long ride up to Cumbria and the Lake District. But what a beautiful area and  know that there are some very interesting churches to visit here. Just a taster for today.

St. Mary’s, Applethwaite, Windermere

St. Mary’s, Windermere

This large church is right beside the main road and there is a large sign in the lych gate which says ‘Church Open’. It seemed like a waste to not go in so I did. This is a Victorian church, consecrated in 1856. It has been re ordered inside with some modern chairs etc. It is obviously a very well cared for building which also contains the parish office. The signage outside is very good. Inside I found a display of the excellent Grove Booklets. There were several on contemporary issues. There is also a small bookshop with a range of books. A simple guide to the church is available also.

St. Mary’s, Windermere, interior

St. Mary’s has a steward on duty who was friendly and offered me a drink. The visitors book shows 13 for the last month. St. Mary`s Windermere is open Monday to Friday 9-4pm- and on Sunday for worship. All in all, I would rate St. Mary’s as good.






St. Mary’s, Ambleside

St. Mary’s, Ambleside

Another Victorian church, this one by Sir Gilbert Scott – his only one in the Lakes. Another well cared for, and well used, building. It is open and the sign outside makes this both very clear and entices the visitor inside. There is a comprehensive selection of booklets on the Christian faith displayed on a welcome table – many of these are in  different languages which reflects the range of people who visit the area. Most of these booklets are by Sgm Lifewords, which are very well produced. There was also a table of different Bible reading guides to take and try. Some lights are left on to relieve what would otherwise be quite a dark interior.

Children’s area, Ambleside

For children there is a gazebo set up in the church (the second one of these I have found), with a good selection of things to do. Some 9 people had signed the visitors book at this very interesting church in the last month. In addition, there is a ‘Healing Prayer Area’ and the Wordsworth Chapel for quiet prayer. I rate this church as very good.






St. Oswald’s, Grasmere

St. Oswald’s, Grasmere

This is a very well visited church, mainly because William Worsdworth is buried in the churchyard. There are a lot of goof things here for the visitor. Let’s start outside. The church doors were open and there is a multi lingual welcome sign. Once inside, there is a real sense of peace and stillness here. A feeling notably absent from many other well visited churches (see my comments on Sandringham for comparison). There is a simple welcome card to take away. It says ‘Welcome’ in 8 languages and reminds the visitor that this is both an ancient church and a place of worship and prayer. I like this. There is also another free leaflet which tells the story of St. Oswald. Too few churches do this. If there is a story to tell then it ,makes for much interest for the visitor. We can no longer assume that they will know the stories of the the well known saints, let alone the less well known, such as Oswald. This is also very well done. Prayer cards are available to purchase as well as a guide and quite a few items on Wordsworth.

Wordsworth graves, Grasmere

There is a good selection of Christian books and cards (prayer cards too) including some booklets which I have not seen before, written by Iris Hesselden. These give prayers, deal with bereavement etc and are again nicely produced. Another nice touch here was a free booklet ‘The love unknown’. It tells the story of Dora Wordsworth’s favourite hymn, ‘Just as I am, without one plea’, which has a direct link with this church.A prayer board can be used for intercessions and was well used on my visit. For children there is a toy box which they are invited to use.

Inside St. Oswald’s, Grasmere

108 people had signed the visitors book in the last 5 days so this church does have quite a ministry to visitors and takes this very seriously. I rate this as very good indeed.


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One Comment
  1. Correction. St. Mary`s Windermere is open Monday to Friday 9-4pm- and on Sunday for worship. Best wishes. DW

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