There has been an active Christian presence on the Marsh Farm Estate, situated in the North East of Luton, since it was built in the 1960s. Originally the Church met in one of the newly built town houses on the estate before a Church Hall was constructed and then a Church building in 1976. A fervent desire to make known the love of God in a way that is both profound but relevant has been central to the parish’s life over the 30 years of its existence.
As the Church of England in Marsh Farm we extend pastoral care and support to the whole community and seek to serve and greet all in the name of Christ. All people, whether committed Christians, enquirers or those who simply wish to broaden their understanding are warmly welcomed to our worship and social activities.
The Parish stretches from the northern boundary of the estate to Bramingham Road in the South; from Bramingham Wood in the east to the high rise flats in the west as well as a row of houses on the north side of Bramingham Road which run down to the Three Horses Roundabout. The Church is located in the middle of the estate next door to the medical centre.
The Church of S Mary, originally built in AD 931 and located in the town centre, served the entire Parish of Luton until 1840. In the years that followed new churches and mission rooms were built across the town as the population steadily increased with the rise of industry and an influx of migrant workers. The Parish of the Holy Cross, Marsh Farm was the last to be created in Luton in 1983.
The Marsh Farm estate was built in the 1960s and pastoral work officially commenced in 1968 with the creation of a Conventional District formed from the parishes of S Mary, Sundon and S Augustine, Limbury. In 1976 construction began on a new church in Marsh Farm which was opened in December of the same year. The new building was dedicated by the Bishop of Bedford on The Feast of The Holy Cross in 1977 and was licensed for the Solemnisation of Holy Matrimony in the December.
In 1982 the Parish and Benefice of the Holy Cross, Marsh Farm was established and The Revd Robert D Branson was appointed as the first Incumbent. The Church was consecrated on the 30 June 1983.
1968 – 1971 The Revd Robert W. Dray
1971 – 1976 The Revd John H. L. Blick BA
1976 – 1981 The Revd Frank B. Nichols
1982 – 1991 The Revd Robert D. Branson
1991 – 2006 The Revd John R. Belither SSC
2007 – 2010 The Revd Christopher R. Perry MA SSC
2013 – 2015 The Revd David Beresford BA
1979 – 1982 Deaconess Clarissa Catton
1984 – 1986 Sister Julia Crathorn (Church Army)
1986 – 1989 Captain Gordon Banks (Church Army)
1989 – 1994 Captain Gordon Garvie (Church Army)
TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST THROUGH PRAYER, WORSHIP AND SOCIAL ACTION!
The heart of our life together as Christians is prayer and worship for this is what God created us for. The deepest expression of our worship is the celebration of the Mass where we fulfil Christ’s command that we: “Do this in memory of me”. Worship and prayer are the foundation of our life at Holy Cross: the Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday and Evening Prayer is said in the church every day except Mondays.
It is our firm conviction that by building a community of love within the ‘walls’ of the Church where Bishop, Priest and Laity work together and share each other’s vision we can be a community that reaches beyond our walls to embrace the needs and concerns of the wider community we are called to serve.
In seeking to respond to the needs of the local community we run a Church Cafe on Thursdays which coincides with the Marsh Farm Market. Over a cup of tea and a cooked breakfast we offer a listening ear and pastoral care to all.
On the first Saturday of the month we run a club for pensioners called “Time Out”. Activities vary from Bingo, talks, quizzes and trips to the theatre. We greatly value the wisdom and insights of older people in our community and enjoy spending time with them.
Throughout the year we have an active programme of social activities which are open to the whole community. Canal Trips, Summer Fayres, Autumn Bazaars, Barn Dances, Safari Suppers, Race Nights, Quiz Nights, Concerts and Parties are an important part of our Christian fellowship and help to bind us together in the love of Christ!
As a natural part of our Christian life we are concerned for all areas of World Development. Individual members are encouraged to support the work of Christian Aid & CAFOD while our designated charity is “LOVE RUSSIA”. Based on the Isle of White this small Christian Charity helps children and young people in orphanages, baby homes, schools and prisons in and around Moscow.
We enjoy a positive ecumenical relationship with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in Marsh Farm and Luton. During Lent we share The Stations of the Cross with the Roman Catholic Churches of The Holy Family, Marsh Farm & S John, Sundon Park.
Above all we seek to uphold and teach the Faith of the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” as given to us by Christ and handed down through the ages by the Apostles and the Saints. We are committed to the traditional Anglican expression of the Christian Faith and are part of the Diocese of St Albans under the care of The Bishop of Richborough: The Rt Revd Norman Banks.