One hundred years ago a new church was opened for the growing number of Catholics in Upminster, dedicated to St Joseph and located on Sunnyside Gardens. The Church moved to its present site on Champion Road in the 1930s, and the site of the old church is now occupied by the Upminster Taproom.
Our centenary celebrations began with a Mass in January celebrated by the Bishop of Brentwood, Alan Williams, but we also wanted to do something that would involve the wider Upminster community. This was the thinking behind our Centenary Festival which took place midway through the centenary year on Sunday 23rd April.
Despite the rain disrupting our plans for an outdoor concert, we were able to go ahead with our backup plan, a concert in the New Windmill Hall featuring Brentwood School Big Band, with cream teas served by the Sweet Rose Cakery. Meanwhile, the bouncy castles and beer tent, run by the Taproom, went ahead in the park as planned. The Big Band – including a handful of musicians with connections to the parish – gave a fantastic performance to a packed hall, whilst the outdoor elements were also very popular (if a little damp). In the words of our parish priest Fr Matthew: “This is a great opportunity for us, not just to celebrate and give thanks for the past 100 year, but also to look forward to the future and remind people we are here at the heart of the Upminster community.”
Later this year the Sion Community based in Brentwood will be leading a parish mission with events open to all, and we are also hoping to leave a permanent legacy of the centenary year with a new bell and prayer garden. You can find out how to donate to our centenary appeal here.