Grand Lodge Gate.
Saint Hilda holding our Church.
Saint Francis in front of Heaton Hall.
Saint Luke in front of the Grand Lodge Gate.
We are often reminded of the relation of the Church to the local area (see post below) and this is also true in the way we decorate our Churches. The Parish Church of Walsingham in Norfolk scatters the floor with lavender branches in season, as Norfolk is famous for it's lavender. When the regular processions are held from the Shrine to the Parish and vice-versa, the smell of the lavender in the air is beautiful as thousands of feet trample it when entering the Church, which, blended with the incense from the thurifers proceeding Our Lady, is heavenly. At least, it is concurrent with my expectations of Heaven!
In Saint Hilda's we have a reredos behind the Lady Chapel Altar which shows the area in which we live. You can see the Church in Saint Hilda's arms, Heaton Hall behind St Luke and the Grand Lodge gate behind St Francis. Our Lady of Heaton Park sits enthroned in the centre, in a similar situation to that which the colonnade in Heaton Park is set. Heaton Park and Hall are in the Parish, a short walk from the Church and near my house, and we take our spiritual duty to the area seriously, not just seeing it as an empty space on the Parish map. In the summer, thousands of people descend on the Park to picnic and tour the Old Hall and we do get a significant upturn in numbers from them. Some marvel, some come back, others look slightly befuddled. All are prayed for and welcomed back.
The War Memorial a well shows St Hildas Church behind Christ giving the Crown of Life to the Unknown Soldier, surrounded by the names of the Parishoners who died in the two World Wars. It is very interesting, in this time of change and movement, to see many names from the war memorial still on the electoral roll today, now belonging to young men and women.