A family of faith!

Hoylake Methodist Church (St Luke’s) has existed on its present site since 1898. The first building to be erected was the present sports hall and in September 1897, as part of the construction, young people of the church laid the bricks which bear their initials – these can now be seen in front of the kitchen hatch in the Community Room.

The zeal of our Methodist forebears is clear from their decision to proceed to enlarge the building with the addition of a large worship space including a balcony and tower that had a spire. The stone-laying ceremony was on 29th June 1905 and the present ‘church’ was officially opened on 14th June 1906. The first building on the site became the church hall.

Various alterations and additions to the original building have been made over the years. In 1966 the Small Hall and Crèche room were added, while in 2006, the existing church and hall were bridged by the new Community Room, which provides a pleasing focal point for the church and has become well known in Hoylake – we are “the church with the glass front”.

The original 1898 building now serves as a sports hall and in our worship space, we have replaced the wooden pews with comfortable chairs.

Musically, we mix traditional hymns and organ music with modern worship songs, played on guitars and drums, in keeping with the diversity of our congregation on a Sunday.

We have a crèche for tots and the younger children are taught in TransformUs (our name for Junior Church) every Sunday, so there’s something for everyone!

Many of our members meet in small Life Groups on a weekly or fortnightly basis, to promote deeper Christian discipleship and pastoral care for each other through Bible study and other devotional activities, including prayer.

Additionally, St. Luke’s is in use throughout the week for a range of church or community-based events and you’ll find details elsewhere in this website.

After more than a century of service to the people of Hoylake, our objective remains unchanged – to be a welcoming community of believers who inspire each other and the world around us to live an authentic life of faith. As Methodists, we seek to become part of a “discipleship movement shaped for mission” and to work out what being a Christian means, in order to make a difference to the world.

We aim to be ‘A Family of Faith’ and we’d be delighted if you would join us!

History

Here at St. Luke’s, we’ve been serving the local community for more than 100 years.

The original Methodist building erected on the current site in Market Street was first used in April 1898 and the present church building was officially opened on 14 June 1906, preceded by the laying of bricks by 34 local people who paid 1 guinea each to help fund the construction.

Minutes from the Building Committee show the closest attention to all matters connected with the structure. The original design for the pews was rejected as having ‘too straight a back’, while plans for the tower were altered and its height increased by six feet (at an additional cost of £33 10s 0d).

The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs J Arthur Shone with a gold key presented to her by the architects and the builder, Messrs R Allen of Birkenhead, whose successful tender price for the construction of the church was £3,906.

In February 1908, the organ was installed at a cost of £500, but within a little more than six years, members of the congregation would be fighting in the First World War. Sixteen men who worshipped at St. Luke’s lost their lives in the service of their country and their names are commemorated on the Roll of Honour in the church (see above).

The dark days of the ‘black out’ period of the Second World War have their place in our church’s history too, where the question of blacking out the church windows was considered immediately on the outbreak of war, although it was not carried out until November 1940.

In 1941, the schoolroom (now known as the Sports Hall) was opened as a canteen for members of the Armed Forces on Saturdays and Sundays, while the premises were used as a rest centre by the WVS for nine nights in March 1941, when Merseyside suffered its worst blitz. Sadly, three more members of the St. Luke’s congregation would lose their lives during World War Two.

With the war ended, calmer days followed and Hoylake became a thriving residential locality. In 1963, afternoon Sunday School came to an end, being replaced by morning Junior Church.

Lack of space was becoming increasingly apparent and in 1966, the Diamond Jubilee of the church saw the stonelaying of new rooms at the rear of the church, which were officially opened the following year. This saw the Small Hall and Crèche room added to facilitate development of the children’s and youth work.

St Luke's Building Work 2006 external view

Making changes – the start of the construction work to add the Community Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2006, the existing church and the Sports Hall were bridged by the new Community Room, and the kitchen, toilets and vestry were relocated. The Community Room offers a modern and very welcoming environment and also provides easy access to the worship space, as well as other areas of the building. You can see more photos following construction work in the following gallery: St. Luke’s building projects.

St Luke's Methodist Church Hoylake pews

Pews have been replaced with modern seating

More recently, our worship space has been totally carpeted and comfortable chairs have taken the place of wooden pews. We still enjoy the sound of our excellent organ as well as the services of a talented worship band and both enhance our worship experience.

We finish this look at the history of St. Luke’s with the closing paragraph of the church’s 80th Anniversary brochure, published in 1986:

 

We will remember them

As the First World War has recently passed from living memory to history, it is now more important than ever to ensure that the sacrifice made by so many is not forgotten. While many of us may buy a Poppy during November and observe the two minutes silence, others will walk by a memorial without a second thought, but how many of us actually take stock of the lives lost and the stories behind the names?

Here at St. Luke’s, sixteen names are commemorated on the Roll of Honour from the First World War and on the pages you can access from the links below, we have attempted to give you an insight into their sacrifice.

Hoylake and West Kirby War MemorialMany of these names appear on the Hoylake & West Kirby War Memorial (pictured left) and some were also commemorated on tablets adjacent to the War Memorial Window at Holy Trinity Church in Hoylake. The church has now been demolished, of course, but some records remain.

Sadly, the vast majority of documents from World War One were destroyed by a fire at the Army Records Office on Arnside Street in Walworth, London, ironically from a German air raid in 1940.

But information has been gleaned from the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, various regimental records and the Grange Hill (Hoylake & West Kirby War memorial) website. Additionally, painstaking research by local historians throughout the UK has pieced together much information on the First World War and our thanks go to Heather Chapman of the Hoylake & West Kirby Local History group and also to Maureen Thomas, wife of our Communion Steward, Derek Thomas, for their advice and contributions.

Gathering the information has been a privilege and has offered a brief glimpse into the past, a time which we must not forget.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left, grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We will remember them.