THE ST. NICHOLAS CENTRE
The St Nicholas Centre came about through the vision and stewardship of the Christian people who have worshipped in this place since the original St Nicholas Church was established near Newport Arch. The present church was built in 1840, replacing the original church, and is a clear and visionary response to the needs of the people of this city suburb.
Other supplementary buildings were added at various places in the parish, including a hall near Burton Road, a mission church on Long Leys Road, and a Chapel of Ease, St Matthias, on Burton Road. Following the Second World War a church hall, the Blenkin Hall, was built. Much went on in the hall, including sales of work, Scouts and Guides, drama and children's play and dance. With the arrival of the new millennium it was becoming clear that the Blenkin Hall was increasingly structurally compromised, and the Parochial Church Council came to the conclusion, following professional advice, that the resolution of this was to sell the hall and reinvest the proceeds as seemed appropriate. The sale went ahead and the money came in.
Around the same time Jennifer Jackson died, leaving a generous legacy to the church. Jennifer was a life-affirming character and regular worshipper. She had been due to be married to a Rhodesian Airman during the Second World War but he was killed days before the wedding was to be. Jenny remained at home, caring for her father, a Lincoln Solicitor, and mother. In later life as a worshipper she greeted everyone at the sharing of the Peace with "Merry Christmas" whatever the time of the year. What seemed an enjoyable eccentricity was in fact a living witness to faith in the incarnate God.In addition, Mary Faulding, a longstanding worshipper, left a legacy to provide a window, and the etched glass window in the Centre is a fine memorial.
The PCC explored with a number of architects, concluding that Andrew Wiles, of Wiles and Maguire, seemed to hear accurately and critically what was being said about the needs of the church both architecturally and in terms of the Gospel. He was commissioned to design space that would enhance the ministry of the church. Thus was born the St Nicholas Centre, comprising modern facilities for meetings, administration and fellowship.
A group came together to work on the project on behalf of the PCC. The administration was led by Colin Bruerton, a devoted servant of the Church of many year's standing, first in Leicester then in Lincoln. He devoted much time and energy to the project and saw much of it through before illness forced him to withdraw. Sadly, he died soon afterwards and did not see the finished result.
It seemed fitting that the meeting rooms be called The Blenkin Room, the Jennifer Jackson Room, and the Colin Bruerton Room.
The Building Group continued, under the leadership of John Simmons and Roger Hansard, recruiting another member of the congregation, Liz Elsom, to take on the administration. Mrs Elsom, by reason of her professional background, has effected a tremendous achievement, ensuring that the contractors, Robert Woodhead, have served the church and the project well.
The completed Centre was dedicated on Sunday 3rd. February, 2013 by Tim, Bishop of Grantham in the name of St Nicholas, a saint noted for his generous care and hospitality. Also on this day the Church celebrated Candlemas, and the faithfulness of Simeon and Anna in greeting the God made human. It is our prayer that the Centre will continue to build and enrich the ministry of worship, care and hospitality expressed by the church to the community in which it is set.
The Revd David Yabbacome
Vicar, February 2013