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St. Luke the Evangelist, Milber, Newton Abbot

August 30, 2013

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This is a church with quite a story attached. The Revd J. Keble Martin had a dream about a new church. This was on 11th March 1931. In the morning he made a note of the design. There was to be no screen dividing priest from people but an open church with 3 radiating transepts. An unusual design more at home in continental Europe than in Newton Abbot. Martin’s brother, Arthur, was an architect and he translated the notes into a plan. The building was started in 1936 but not consecrated until 1963 due to the war.

This looks to be a church well worth visiting. Having found it, it was locked. The signs outside give lots of information and stress that this is a church where the ‘proper’ beliefs are held. It is a Forward in Faith parish. Somewhat ironically the Common Worship Lectionary reading for that day was Luke 13, vs 10-17, where Jesus is criticised by the religious authorities for healing a woman on the Sabbath. They wanted him to do the right things on that holy day, Jesus did what was right in God’s eyes. I will leave you to draw your own parallels here. Except to say that it is good to hold to what we believe to be right but it is better to be open to God’s spirit.

I found the notice board here rather off putting. If I was seeking a place of quiet to pray or to think something over, St. Luke’s would not be very welcoming.

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No doubt the church is shut for all the right reasons but this is surely a wasted opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ to the good people of Milber.

As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

PS. Feb 2017 I have recently heard that things are changing here. A new Priest has been appointed with the aim of making St. Luke’s a much more welcoming place. This is good news indeed and I hope to visit this fascinating church again.

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4 Comments
  1. John Elwyn Kimber permalink

    St Luke’s is part of the See of Ebbsfleet, i.e. rejecting the ordination of women. I daresay they don’t want any unsuitable people in their church. We cannot tell of course whether they fear local vandals or theological vandals, but to judge by the fortress-mentality you encountered they certainly fear something, and as you say the unwelcoming air of the place is not going to endear them to the people of Milber. A shame, because the church is modestly famous and a warmer welcome might attract many more visitors.

    • John – thank you for this. I agree with you totally! Our welcome, intentional, or otherwise is just so important.

  2. Mary Heywood permalink

    You are about to have a wonderful new young priest who has been a brilliant asset to the church where he spent his curacy (Combined Parish of Dartmouth). If anyone can get this church buzzing again, it’s Nick and now he’ll be a brilliant asset to St Luke’s.

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