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Mass blessing will be part of Wisbech Church's 150th anniversary celebrations

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A Fenland Church is planning major celebrations next month to mark its 150th anniversary.

St Augustine's Church is 150 years old. (8811570)
St Augustine's Church is 150 years old. (8811570)

St Augustine's in Wisbech is holding two days of events over the weekend of May 10 and 11 to celebrate the landmark birthday.

The biggest of these is a mass outdoor blessing by Canon Matthew Bradbury on the front lawn of the Church.

This is open to anyone but organisers are particularly keen to hear from those who were married or baptised at the Church and would like people to send in photos of their big days for an indoor display.

St Augustine's Church is 150 years old. (8811568)
St Augustine's Church is 150 years old. (8811568)

Organisers would love to hear from you or for further details contact 07874245683 or 07707743908

On Saturday May 10 the Rock Choir will be performing from 7.30pm, with doors opening at 7pm and tickets at £7 available on the door.

Jessie Tindale, of the Friends of St Augustine's, said: "Our Church may not be the main one in the town, but people really have a lot of affection for it. This is a real landmark and we want the community to join in our celebrations."

St Augustine's was built to provide spiritual and pastoral care for the poor areas of Wisbech - the workhouse was on Lynn Road, and the area around was crammed with housing for some of the poorest.

In the 1850s a series of vicars at St Peter's Church started campaigning because of their concerns that the spiritual and pastoral care of the poor in these areas was not being addressed.

By the 1860s the campaign had gained momentum and the Church authorities donated the corner of a large field they owned on Lynn Road and a fund was set up. Money came in with donations from the great and the good, but the largest amount was raised from the ordinary people who gave what they could.

As a result on April 11 1869 the new Church of St Augustine's was consecrated and a year later made the centre of its own parish.

It was a Church with a special mission to work in the slums it was built by. The slums have now gone but the mission continues, with St Augustine's playing a prominent role in the Market Town Initiative in which the Church of England is seeking ways to reinvent itself, and to find new ways of worshipping God in the 21st Century.

There will be lots of displays in the Church over the celebratory weekend highlighting its past 150 years and everyone is welcome to go along and join in.

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