St Philip's Church Leicester

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St Philip's Church Leicester - an illustrated history

Available now

Price £4.00 (+ £1.00 p&p)

Send cheque for £5.00 made payable to 'St Philip's Church' to:

History Book
c/o St Philip's Church
Evington Road
Leicester
LE2 1HN

 

 

 The History of St Philip's Church (not from the History Booklet)

The Past

First a bit of history - not much though, we've only been here for a hundred years.

In 1903 a lot of houses had been built in the streets off Evington Road , and these people had to travel a long way to their nearest church, so the Diocese thought about building a Church for them. The Church Army started by having a ten day Mission in a marquee, and hundreds of people came to each of the services. There was tremendous enthusiasm for a new Church and working parties were soon set up to raise part of the £9,000 needed to build the Church, together with Bible Classes in peoples' houses.

By 1904 a corrugated iron church had been erected - known as the “tin church" - which had to be enlarged several times because of the large numbers trying to get in. In 1909 the first part of the Church was built - not much bigger than the part of the building we use as a worship area today. So many people came to the services, particularly the evening services, that the “tin Church” had to be used as  well.

In 1913 the remainder of the Church was built, with pews for over 500 people. There was not enough money to build the tower or Lady Chapel that were originally planned, and these were never built.

The Church grew from strength to strength, under a dynamic Vicar - Canon John Dearlove. Before long there was a vicarage built and church halls large enough to provide social activities for the Church and the whole community - drama society, choirs, dancing, whist drives, Scouts and Guides and many others. In 1949 nearly 980 people were recorded on the Electoral Roll (a list of people entitled to vote at Church meetings) - one of the highest figures ever recorded in Leicestershire. In 1967 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, celebrated Holy Communion at St Philip's at the start of a visit to Leicester .

Since 1960 there has been a big change in the area. Many families from the West Indies, Kenya , Uganda and India have settled in the area, resulting in a gradual decline in our congregation.

In 1996 we had a bad fire, totally destroying the vestry area and the organ. We no longer needed such a large church and halls, which were costing us a lot of money to maintain, so we made a decision to sell the halls and use the money to re-order the church to provide a smaller worship area, together with meeting rooms capable of serving the present congregation and the community around us.

The Present

 Stained Glass Windows

Above the High Altar you cannot miss a magnificent window featuring "Christ in Majesty". It was designed by Karl Parsons and it was our War Memorial to the 72 men of this Parish who died in the First World War. It cost over £2,000 - which was a huge sum of money in 1921, equivalent to £1/4 million today.

At the back are more stained glass windows, given by our Sunday School. The centre panels depict the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan.  

 The Pulpit

This was given to the Church in 1909 and the carved panels show Saint Philip, who was a fisherman, and one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. He is mentioned several times in the Gospels.

 Chancel Screen

At the back of the Church you will see a screen with the words “I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth." This screen was originally on the chancel steps, but was moved here to provide a more open space when the Church was re-ordered.  

   

The Organ

Our Lammermuir pipe organ was installed in 2003. It was built in Scotland in 1987 for a church in London . It is unusual in having a brown wooden keyboard, instead of the usual white keys.

 

St Philip's Today

We have a thriving Junior Church , and we enjoy having a number of children at most of our services.

St Philip's has close links with our neighbouring churches. In 2007 we renewed our links with Mayflower Methodist Church and Evington Road URC Church with a Covenant to form “ Evington Valley Church ", and we have regular joint services. We have also formed the Evington and Highfields Mission Partnership with the St Denys, St Barnabas, St Stephen's and St Peter's Churches as part of the "Shaped by God" initiative started in 2005. The German Speaking Lutheran Church also have regular services here.

 

The Future

We have developed strong links with people of other faiths, particularly since the opening of St Philip's Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi Faith Society - which provides training courses for people coming to work in areas where there are people of many different faiths. The Centre was opened by the present Archbishop of Canterbury in 2006.

Our halls are in use nearly every day and evening. We have a lively playgroup in the day time, and our halls are well used by local choirs and other organisations.

The former church Halls are now Catherine House, a day centre run by Age Concern. Hundreds of people come each day for meals and social activities.

We believe that St Philip's has survived to provide a viable Christian presence in this community.