When members of St Bride’s Church on Catharine Street realised they needed to raise £2m for an ambitious renovation it became clear more than the collection boxes would be needed.
St Bride’s, which describes itself as Liverpool’s ‘creative, progressive, inclusive church’, needs the cash to give the Grade-II listed building in L8 a facelift and to ensure daily running costs are covered.
So in 2018 the church, on Percy Street in the Georgian Quarter, will stage a series of events and launch a number of cash-raising projects designed to ensure its future and ‘reimagine’ the building with a lick of paint and, oh yes, potentially a new roof.
One of those events late in 2017 was an opera night, featuring West End singer Emma Dears and operatic soprano Rachel Harland.
Emma Dears says it was the perfect way to raise funds for the church.
“I am a member of St Brides church and my background is performing, I was in the West End for years and this is my way of raising funds.
“I am using talent to raise money as an appose to just asking people to put their hands in their pockets”.
“Holding this event means a lot for St Brides and for new people to come through the doors. It is not just a church, the building is used for many other reasons as well.
“You would be surprised by how many people have a connection with St Brides whether they are religious or not.”
60 people attended the event, which earlier boasted a meal from donated by Castle Street’s Olive Italian restaurant. 100 more guests arrived at 8pm, ready for the opera concert
“They where all dancing in the aisles would you believe?” laughs Emma.
Emma says there is much more fund-raising activity planned for 2018 and future for events held at St Brides.
“There are lots of things in the pipeline, a lot of other exciting things. I would like to do something that I have come across, over the past couple of years I have discovered some incredible children’s talents.
“I would love to showcase this and would love to be able to give them the ability to show it, rather than it being a competition.
“It would just be a celebration of children’s talents”.
Emma believes St Brides, consecrated back in 1830, is quite the inspiration, known for its support of minority groups, charities and support groups.
It hosts Open Table services for the LGBT community, feeds the city’s homeless through the Roger Smalley’s Homeless Project, operates a foodbank with the city’s two cathedrals and supports refugees through two distinct projects.
There are also two choirs based at St Bride’s: a community choir that uses singing to improve mental well-being and the inclusive Liverpool Socialist Singers.
I think the mindfulness of the church is definitely the way forward,” says Emma.
“I think there is a lot to learn from St Bride’s.”
Written by Beth Harms
• Main image via, additional images by Beth Harms