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Home | February 2013 Please tell us what you think of this article. Tell a friend Print Friendly

St Helena : “ASPIRE TO RESTORE THE SPIRE!”ST JAMES’ CHURCH STEEPLE RESTORATION APPEAL
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 03.02.2013 (Article Archived on 03.03.2013)

An Appeal has been launched to restore the spire of St James’ Church, the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere, led by appeal organisers, Ivy Ellick, OBE and Cathy Hopkins, MBE.

“ASPIRE TO RESTORE THE SPIRE!”ST JAMES’ CHURCH STEEPLE RESTORATION APPEAL


 


An Appeal has been launched to restore the spire of St James’ Church, the oldest Anglican Church in the Southern Hemisphere, led by appeal organisers, Ivy Ellick, OBE and Cathy Hopkins, MBE.


 


Since the spire’s dismantlement for safety reasons in 1980, there has been much local support for a replacement. Fishermen have also said that there is no familiar landmark for siting the fishing grounds.


 


Ivy said:


 


‘St James Church is the oldest Anglican Church south of the Equator, it is also one of the seven wonders of St Helena, and we are very proud it. We need your help to restore it to its former glory by replacing the spire that has for generations guided ships and our local fishermen into the safe haven of St James Bay.’


 


The St James’ Church Steeple Restoration Project is already underway, but typical of a project like this and of this magnitude, funding will need to be sourced from offshore to enable this to happen.


Drivers of the appeal are now seeking the support of friends overseas, those who grew up on the Island but have made their lives elsewhere in the world, those who have enjoyed visiting and worshipping in St James and others who can appreciate the importance of this fine church in terms of its position within the history of the Anglican community and in its role today.


 


A leaflet detailing the aims of the project will soon be available on the homepage of the SHG website www.sainthelena.gov.sh and members of the public are encouraged to view the leaflet and support the appeal for a Church that is much loved by the St Helena community.


 


To find out more about the appeal contact Cathy on telephone 00290 3729 or email poppins@cwimail.sh


 


His Excellency Governor Capes fully supports the replacement of St James’ spire, and in a speech at a service at St James on Sunday, commented:


 


“Sitting at the heart of the centre of Jamestown, St James’ Church is part of the fabric of this historic town and so has an importance even to those who do not worship here, including to our welcome visitors to the Island.


 


“On many occasions I have mentioned that as we work through this period of change in St Helena, we must be sure to preserve those things that we value, the things that make St Helena the special place that it is and which we and those who visit the Island find so attractive.


 


“I urge you to do whatever you can to support the appeal, to play your part in contributing to that success. Whether a few pence or much more, it will all help. My Mum used to tell me, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’. Or perhaps you may be able to assist by spreading word of the appeal to friends or to family members overseas who may like to contribute.”


 


Secretary to the Appeal Committee, Cathy Hopkins added:


 


‘The church is an important part of Island heritage and Christian witness: every visitor coming here sees St James as they come through the Archway into Jamestown and many come into the church to look around or to say a quiet prayer . The spire was a landmark and a navigation point for ships and for our fishermen, and it will be good to restore both the steeple (tower) and replace the spire, to finish off the overall restoration for which we started raising funds about 12 years ago.’


St James’ Church was originally built without a steeple. During the years of Napoleon only the tower existed - but in 1843 extensive alterations and renovations were carried out and a steeple erected. The church was balanced to bring the tower and steeple central in the north elevation.


 


The original spire was built of rocks carved from a locally occurring compressed volcanic ash, a comparatively fragile material. These blocks had been assembled with large metal rods which, corroding with rust over time expanded, cracking and splintering the blocks. This caused the spire to be unsafe and beyond repair. To replace the spire will require other works to the tower, which will add to the overall cost - but it must be done before there is further deterioration to the structure.


 


Local expertise is now available to undertake the necessary restoration and the Island is keen to see the project completed in time for 2015, also the year of the bicentennial commemoration surrounding Napoleon’s exile to St Helena in 1815.


 


SHG


30 January 2013

 

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