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Local Directory

St Laurence's C of E

Parish Office
Church Stretton

Tel: 01694 724224
Website: http://www.strettonparish.org.uk/churches/st-laurences/

 

St. Laurence's (C. of E.), near the Market Square, 800 years old with a rich history and its modern parish Centre, offers a range of activities on Sundays for all ages, with refreshments mid-morning (10.30-11.05am). Sunday services: 8am Communion (traditional), 9.30am communion except 4th Sun. when it is Morning Worship (all Common Worship), and the "11.05 Special"-an informal service, with groups for children and youth. We offer a Healing service at 6pm usually on 4th Sundays.

Looking for the Sculpture of St. Laurence's Gridiron

Inside the church, look up to the roof of the crossing to see the impressive sculpture 'The Symbol of St. Laurence' by john Skelton; it is an iron grill with copper flames.

It symbolises the death of the three Goulder brothers in a fire in 1968 in The Hotel on the corner of High Street and Sandford Avenue. It is now used as flats, a pub, Chinese restaurant and a Design Studio. Two members of staff also died in the fire and are commemorated by a memorial plaque dedicated by the Bishop of Ludlow in May 2013.

St. Laurence Church Stretton's Anglican Church is dedicated to St. Laurence, a Spanish born theologian who became Archdeacon in Rome in 257. He was responsible for the treasury, the riches of the church and the distribution of alms to the poor.

Christianity was not adopted as the state religion by Rome until the rule of Emperor Constantine in 313 and in Laurence's lifetime there were fierce disputes between the Roman state and the early Christian Church.

Emperor Valerian issued an edict commanding the death of all bishops, priests and deacons. Laurence was required to hand over the riches of the church before his execution and he asked for three days to gather together the wealth but during that time he worked swiftly to distribute as much church property to the poor as he could so as to prevent it all being seized by the authorities.

On the third day he presented himself to the Prefect of Rome and presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering and said these were the true treasures of the church. This act of defiance did not go down well with the Prefect who ordered that instead of the swift death of beheading, Laurence should be roasted to death on a gridiron. Tradition has it that Laurence had a black sense of humour and shouted to his torturers "I am well done on this side, turn me over".

Whether or not there is any truth in this legend Laurence became a popular symbol of resistance to unreasonable authority and he has been adopted as the patron saint of cooks and chefs. Look for a statue of St. Laurence, with his gridiron at his side, outside the church on the SE corner of the tower.

This gridiron serves as a reminder of St.Laurence's martyrdom and as a memorial to children who perished in a local fire.