The Foundation Stone of our church was laid on May 16th 1936 and the church was Consecrated on November 20th 1937.
These are the stories of two important events in the life of our church.
LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE
The Foundation Stone of the church of St. Faith and St. Laurence, was laid on Saturday May 16th by Lady Anstruther-
The procession to the site was impressive. The Rural Dean read David's song of thanksgiving as a lesson.
The Vicar (the Rev. W. G. Sissions) invited the Bishop to " bless the work to which we have set our hands." The Bishop enquired of the Archdeacon of Birmingham if he was “satisfied that the work here about to be taken in hand is altogether and in every way according to the honour due to our Blessed Lord and His Church.” The Archdeacon replied that he had enquired and was satisfied. After receiving a reply from the churchwardens that they trusted “the people of this place have a mind towards the solemn dignity of this rite, being ready themselves to be builded into a Spiritual Temple for the Lord.” The Bishop invoked blessing upon all “who in any way contribute to its completion; that God will protect from danger those who may be engaged in the building, and that He will send His blessing upon our undertaking.”
The sermon was preached by Canon Lucas, who was Curate of St. Faith's 20 years ago. Canon J.C.Lucas said he was glad to see a dream of many years ago beginning to come true. Twenty years ago he was Priest-
Then the stone was laid. One of the intriguing things about this, was the burial of documents in the wall. The foundation is of brick, and a small cavity was left where the stone would be laid and the documents laid in, sealed in two little lead cylinders rather like large flash lamp batteries. A slate was fitted over and carefully cemented all round. Then Lady Calthorpe took the trowel and laid cement on the slate and the great stone was slowly levered on to it and so into position.
In the bottle laid by Mr. Collins as Secretary of the Church Council under the stone, there were coins of the Realm, a copy of the Birmingham Post, copies of the Parish Magazine, and a copy of the day's ceremony. The collection amounted to £77 l4s. 6d., evidence that there were a large number of well wishers.
REPORT IN ‘HARBORNE NEWS’ – NOVEMBER 20th 1937
NEW HARBORNE CHURCH
TO BE DEDICATED BY BISHOP
TODAY’S BIG OCCASION AFTER 40 YEARS
Situated in a Harborne area which is growing rapidly, the new church of St. Faith and St. Laurence, at the junction of Croftdown Road and Balden Road is to be dedicated by the Bishop of Birmingham, Dr. E.W.Barnes, today.
The hopes of forty years will be fulfilled; a need which has grown steadily greater as the years have passed will be met; the clergy and laity alike will see the concrete reward of their labours. Harborne will be the better and within the village, there will be a centre around which a new and virile district will grow.
Almost forty years have passed since the question of a Church for the Queen’s Park district of Harborne was first raised, for it was at the end of the 19th century that Canon W. J. Price, the then vicar of Harborne, expressed his concern that there was no place of worship in that developing residential district.
REPORT IN ‘HARBORNE NEWS’ – NOVEMBER 27th 1937
Of the hundreds of people who arrived for the Consecration of the new church of St. Faith and St. Laurence on Saturday, many had to be turned away. Throughout the service many stood in the small entrance hall to the church, and before he delivered his address, the Bishop of Birmingham (Dr. E.W. Barnes) asked them to come forward and sit at the foot of the altar. “I am sure that no one will think it irreverent” he remarked.
The simple lines of the new church are greatly enhanced by the plain manner of the furnishings. The dull brickwork finds its complement in the shining new wood of the pews and doors, the length its match in the height of the edifice.
Clergy present in addition to the Bishop of Birmingham were the Ven.C. E. Hopton, Archdeacon of Birmingham, the Ven. J. H. Richards, Archdeacon of Aston, the Rev. R. D. Richardson, Vicar of Harborne, and the Rev. W. C. Sissons, incumbent of the parish of St. Faith and St. Laurence.
The Holy Table, the Font, the Lectern and the Pulpit having been consecrated in turn, the Bishop directed that the sentence of consecration should be read aloud by the Clerk of the Diocese. The Bishop then ordered that the documents should be enrolled and preserved in the Registry of the Diocese. The consecration, said the Bishop represented at least a third of a century of effort, for it was almost exactly thirty three and a third years ago that the Mission Hall of St.Faith was dedicated by the then Bishop of Lichfield. Harborne belonged to Staffordshire in origin and was formerly part the Diocese of Lichfield.
OUR CHURCH BUILDING
Our church in an Arts and Crafts-
MATERIALS: The church is constructed from soft brown brick, laid in a variation on Flemish Garden Wall bond, with slate roofs, and the interior is a combination of brick and whitewashed concrete.
PLAN: The church is orientated north west-
EXTERIOR: The exterior is in a robust, Romanesque style, the brick elevations set on a moulded brick plinth; there is a brick dentil frieze to the eaves and plain brick pilasters expressing the bay structure of the long elevations. There are round-
INTERIOR: The interior is a mixture of brick and plastered concrete; the five-
SOURCES: Andy Foster, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham (2007), 186
Nikolaus Pevsner and Alexandra Wedgwood, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire (1966), 185
History of the County of Warwick (Victoria County History), Volume 7: City of Birmingham (1964), 387