Who are the Friends of St Alban & St Patrick?
We are members of the present congregation, former members who have moved elsewhere, members of other congregations and of none. What we have in common is an appreciation of the architecture of the church, or of its musical and liturgical traditions, or of its historic mission in Highgate. Many of us see a vital connection between these aspects of St Alban’s life and we support the church and its life by our continued interest and prayer.
As we believe that the St Alban’s community is larger and more diverse than the St Alban’s congregation at any given time, we keep extra-congregational members in touch with the affairs and activities of the church. All members receive newsletters and notices of Festival Services, celebrations and other events.
Historically we have generally held Spring and Autumn fund-raising events with a supper and speaker. Details of forthcoming Friends and other events can be found on the Events Page. Through these events and subscriptions we have raised money to extend the resources available to the Parochial Church Council to enhance the beauty of the church and its surroundings and to maintain and improve its facilities. Some of the results of our fund raising are described below.
A New Direction for the Friends?
Members of the Friends' Committee are considering whether it is time for a change in emphasis from fund-raising events to events intended to enable wider participation from the congregation and beyond. In her December 2018 Newsletter Amanda Cadman writes:
"I continue to be concerned as to whether the Friends' original purpose is still being fulfilled, or whether we do not in fact need to address a new purpose, given our present and potential future circumstances. The Friends were originally brought into existence to keep in touch with old friends (we must of course unhesitatingly continue to fulfil that purpose), but also to raise funds to support the activities and fabric of the church. The present congregation consists of ‘old stagers’ who have less energy for fund-raising social events and younger arrivals from all parts of the globe who do not have much if any spare money to spread around. I continue to believe that we should ensure we welcome all who wish to join our congregation, and should set out to support those in the parish who have real needs in the face of poverty and loneliness. That is a challenge I throw down as I prepare to stand down as Chairman in the coming year."
What have the Friends achieved?
Since 1986 we have raised over £26,000.
We have restored:
- Paintings of the Holy Family in the Lady Chapel; Our Lord, His Mother, St John and two Roman Soldiers in the South Transept; and St Peter in the entrance to St Patrick’s Room
- The ornate festal frontal for the Lady Chapel
- The graves of our founders the Pollock brothers and our benefactors the Ratcliffs at Moseley parish church
- The historic communion runner carpet
- The C17th silver sanctuary lamp in St Patrick’s Chapel (contributing one third of the cost)
- Faded historic photographs including those of our founders the Pollock brothers
We have provided:
- A dishwasher and a cooker in the church kitchen
- A payphone (and we pay half the line rental)
- The materials for the decorative hassocks in the Lady Chapel and St Patrick’s Chapel
- Handrails on the steps to the west door
- Padded chairs with arms for use by the infirm
- Flower tubs outside the church
- A new church notice board
- A new upright piano
- A framed roll of past incumbents
- Flower stands for church decoration
- An icon of Our Lady
- New entrance curtains for St Patrick’s Room
- Shelving for Food Bank storage in the South Porch
- A Trolley for the Flower Arrangers and Food Bank
- A Projector and Screen for St Patrick's Room
And contributed to the cost of:
- A History of St Patrick's Church
- Renewal of the Public Address System in the church
- Improvements to the church garden
- A New Notice Board for the West Front
- Transport for a Joint Concert in the Church by pupils for St Alban's Academy and St Peter's Collegiate Church of England School in Wolverhampton
We also contribute regularly to the cost of refreshments provided after our St Alban's Day Mass.
The Friends’ Committee
- President: Fr Gerry Sykes
- Patron: Dame Rachel Waterhouse DBE
- Chairman: Amanda Cadman
- Secretary: Rachel Smith
- Treasurer: Christopher Smith
- Membership: Christopher Smith
Other Committee Members:
- Dennis Clark
- Edward Fellows
- Maureen Fellows
- Fay Wilson
- Harry Daniels