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St Francis Church is a registered charity No: 1129849 ©St Francis Church and the PCC 2015
A bit of history
From the very beginning of Welwyn Garden City, when the first families began
to move in, there was a congregation of the Anglican Church worshipping in
the town. At first they were part of the Hatfield Parish and a curate from there would cycle over to take services in what, at first, was a temporary building. In November 1921 the Bishop of St Albans conducted a service, which was held in the Cherry Tree pub (now Waitrose) as the congregation was far too big to be accommodated elsewhere. In the early 1920's a site for the permanent church was found and the diocese agreed to the local wish for the dedication to be to St. Francis of Assisi.
In 1923 a dual purpose church/hall was built and the first service was held there in October 1923. Worshippers in those days had to be stoical during the winter months as heating was not installed until 1931 and records declare that the water in the jug and lavabo actually froze during a particularly cold service in January 1926! This building continued to be used as the church for twelve years. It was on the piece of land which is now occupied by Churchfield House.
Building of the new church, which is our current building, started in 1934. The foundation stone was laid on July 29th by the Bishop of St Albans. Louis de Soissons - who masterminded much of the town's layout and buildings - originally planned a building at least twice the length of the church as we know it. However, the outbreak of the Second World War put paid to any building work that was not absolutely necessary. The West end aisle, with a new porch and adjoining hall were built to designs by the architect David Sutcliffe in 1977. He also produced plans for a new chapel dedicated to St Clare which was rather cleverly created from "closing in" the now redundant North West porch. The St Clare Chapel is generally used for mid-week services and meetings. It is also used for the healing ministry on Sunday mornings.
St Francis, born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone (1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's
Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of
St Francis. St. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history
and well known for his determination to bring the Gospel to all God's creatures and his humility towards nature. His call was to rebuild the Church and live in poverty.
In 2015 we celebrated 8o years since the consecration of our church. See more on our 80th Anniversary Pages.