Volunteers from St Stephen’s church, Bowling, are celebrating after winning the Marsh Church and Community Heroes Awards 2020.
The first prize of £1,000 was presented at the National Churches Trust’s Local Treasures event, held on Friday 11 December 2020.
Along with seven other churches across the UK, the volunteers at St Stephen’s church have been recognized for their help, kindness and support to local people and communities through this difficult year. Supported by the Marsh Christian Trust the Awards are a celebration of their selfless contributions.
Sarah Hinton, a volunteer from St Stephen’s received the award from Tom Sheldon of the Mercer’s Company.
Sarah Hinton said, “This is a wonderful surprise. On behalf of everyone at St Stephen’s, we are delighted to receive the award."
The church was on the verge of closure. Now they welcome over 250 people from a variety of backgrounds and faiths through their doors each week.
“It’s almost a story of resurrection… the stones speak our story.”
The other winning churches are:
Scotland: St Mary the Virgin, Port Glasgow
Scotland: Houston & Killellan Kirk, Houston
England: Sacred Heart church, Tamworth
Northern Ireland: Mount Merrion Parish Church, Belfast
Northern Ireland: Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, Belfast
Wales: St Cynhafal, Llangynhafal
Wales: Morriston Tabernacle, Morriston
Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said, “Many congratulations to everyone at St Stephen’s church, on winning this award this year.
"2020 has been an unprecedented year with many new challenges for us all.
"We saw an extraordinary response in voluntary efforts to help people through the initial Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent uncertainties. Church communities were frequently at the forefront of vital local initiatives to help people in need.
"Church buildings generate at least £12.4 billion every year through volunteers, food banks, mental health support and much more. We think that is remarkable.
"These awards recognise the huge amount of good work that volunteers undertake every year in churches across the UK.”
Further details about the awards can be found at www.nationalchurchestrust.org/local-treasures-marsh-awards-2020