Successful Recital at The Williamson

A very well attended recital took place at The Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead yesterday afternoon

The concert featured a wide repertoire of music and poetry with classical piano, Gregorian chant and sacred music being amonst the feast that entertained a packed crowd in excess of 100 people.

The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus together with Helen Neilsen Scott performed pieces that made up a varied programme.

Below are a selection of photography capturing the event.

11th August: New Brighton Camino Walk

Sunday 11th August 2-5pm (on St Philomena’s feast day)
Starts behind Bubbles on the prom at Marine Point, New Brighton.

This is a sponsored walk organised by Ss Peter Paul and Saint Philomena Shrine Church to raise funds for the church and for St John’s Hospice, Wirral.
It will take place on The Feast Day of Saint Philomena, on Sunday the 11th August, at 2 o’clock.
The emblem of the Walk is a golden cockle shell to echo the scallop shell emblem of the famous  pilgrim route of The Camino Way.

The Walk will start on the prom behind Bubbles and will continue along the prom to Vale Park gates and back again, a total of three miles. You can repeat this route to increase your mileage.

Sponsor Forms:
These are available at Ss Peter Paul and Saint Philomena Shrine Church in Atherton St and at St John’s Hospice Charity Shop in Victoria Rd, New Brighton, and online here

Shell Mural:
At Vale Park walkers will have the opportunity to write the name of a loved one inside a cockle shell which will be included in shell murals to be made in the gardens of the church and the hospice.

We are asking all walkers to wear blue as it is the colour associated with Our Lady and also with St John’s Hospice. All walkers will be given a golden cockle shell pendant bearing the anchor emblem of Saint Philomena to wear during the walk.
Don’t forget your sun hat and sun cream or your umbrella and raincoat!

All day parking is available in Morrison’s car park at Marine Point and also along the prom. Do Not Park in Bubbles car park, it’s for patrons only and you could be fined.

Toilet facilities:
These are available in Morrison’s at Marine Point, also at Vale Park Cafe

Everyone is welcome:
This is a traffic free, wheelchair friendly route.
Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult
Dogs on leads are welcome to join us.

Competition for Scaffolding Tours

Do you fancy going on a scaffolding tour if we get the Heritage Grant? Maybe you have always wanted to see the Dome close up, been part of this church for a long time or even want to take that fantastic photo of New Brighton. Whatever the reason, you are eligible to enter our competition to win a tour around the scaffolding.  

We will have up to 18 places available subject to the appointed contractor’s eligibility and insurance criteria (I.e. a head for heights and fit enough to climb!). To enter, a person must answer the following question:

In 30 words or less, say why the landmark building of Ss Peter & Paul and St Philomena aka the Dome of Home, is important to you?

We need feedback to show National Lottery that our church is very important to the local community. Please get anyone you know who would like to go up the scaffolding to submit their answer either by email to contactus(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) or post to The Presbytery, 7 Atherton Street, CH45 9LT or simply click here to do online.

Shrine Restoration Progress Report

The eight months since the ‘Development Grant’ from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF previously HLF) was awarded to prepare our application for the grant to restore the dome and main sanctuary have flown by! NLHF requires us to engage our wider community with our church.  We must have evidence of a need for  proposed activities and be able to assess the outcome to prove they meet that need.  So this year has been a time for piloting our ideas and testing them to see if they meet the NLHF criteria. It has enabled us to see what has and has not worked and to make the necessary changes. The public were consulted via our survey over the winter (over 500 replies).  The following activities were then selected for piloting.

As part of the grant application we must raise some funds ourselves (Match funding)  This is overseen by the ‘Friends of the Shrine’ group (which you are all welcome to join!).  Organized so far:  Summer Fair 29th June, Sponsored Walk 11th August (in conjunction with St John’s Hospice) and the 200+ Club. 

We also have been busy collecting art work for a fundraising calendar which we hope will be on sale by September 2019.  Art work will also be displayed in the Williamson Art Gallery throughout  November 2019 and we will have a recital at the Williamson on 3rd November 2019 – more details to follow. 

As you can see there has been a huge amount of work going on, including writing draft policies which all volunteers will need to follow. These are available via Anne and awaiting final approval.

A heartfelt thank you to all who have volunteered their time and talents so far.  Please keep sending in your volunteer hours to Project Manager Anne –  contactus(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) . If you love the Dome and wish to see it restored, please see what  you can get involved in.  Welcome aboard! 

Saint Peter pray for us! Saint Paul pray for us! Saint Philomena pray for us!

Mayoral Visit to Church

In connection with the recent launch of our Calendar campaign to help raise much need funds for the restoration of the Shrine, the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, Councillor and Mrs Watt visited on Monday 29th April 2019.

Both enjoyed a fascinating tour of the Church and took tea with Canon Montjean and others in the Presbytery after which Councillor Watt said “I’d like to encourage our talented Wirral residents to contribute their beautiful images of the locality for this new calendar initiative. This kind of local support will really help this church gain the funding they need to complete the restoration of the Dome.”

Calling Photographers, Artists and Poets!

The restoration of our Shrine Church is now in its fourth phase and needs your help. 

The church is producing a calendar, to help raise match-funding for a National Lottery Heritage Grant to repair the dome. In keeping with Wirral as Liverpool City Region’s ‘Borough of Culture 2019,’ the calendar, entitled All You Need Is Love’, will showcase local talent and our beautiful Wirral.  Monthly themes will be based on St Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians – ‘Love is Patient, Love is Kind’, with a different aspect on love for each month. 

Project Manager Anne Archer said, “Initially, we are looking for twelve stunning images, hopefully some funny ones, some historical ones – great if they have the Dome in them too!  The competition is open to all ages, so we hope local children will also contribute. And we have secured exhibition space in Wallasey Central Library and The Williamson Art Gallery Café to display more works.

Our other aim, subject to funding, is to produce a coffee table style hard-backed ‘reflection’ book which will include yet more of your stunning images along with inspirational words – verses that either make us smile or inspire us – so please do also send us your poetry, either with your image or separately. We are keen for this book to appeal to a wide audience, including people with dementia. So, for the poets among you, please stick with simple language and short sentence structure.”

The Calendar will be sold at many local outlets including: The Post Office, Victoria Rd,

The Sea Shanty Café, Atherton St, Literally Bookshop, Atherton St, The Light Cinema,

Cafe Creme on the promenade, Vale Park Café, the Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead, the Floral Pavilion Theatre, Cards Galore, Victoria Rd, Heritage Centre, and St James Church, Albion St.

The reflection book would be free of charge to libraries, care homes, day centres, schools and on request.

The artwork and photos will be chosen by a panel of judges including: Cathy Roberts (aka ‘Tugboat Cath’, local author and illustrator), Wirral Globe’s Peter Grant and Dave Peddie from The New Brighteners. Selected works will be displayed at Wallasey Central Library from the 3- 27September 2019 inclusive and at the Williamson Art Gallery during November 2019. There will be a recital session of music and poetry at The Williamson one Sunday afternoon in November 2019, date to be confirmed.

Image requirements and consent agreements are available when you submit your work online. 

To submit artwork, photos or reflections, please go to
or email  contactus(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) Deadline for all submissions is Friday 28 June 2019.

 Get creating!

Shrine featured on BBC Radio Merseyside

The recent award of match funding from the Allchurches Trust was covered in the weekly faith programme from BBC Radio Merseyide ‘Daybreak‘ on Sunday 17th March.

The show, whose usual host is Helen Jones, was presented on this occasion by Paul Beesley and the feature on our church can be heard here (forward the play slider to 1:08).

[You will need to be either a registered BBCi user or be prepared to register]

Important Match Funding secured

The restoration of our church, has received a significant boost this week from Allchurches Trust.

Architecturally ambitious and built in 1933, our church dominates Wirral’s skyline. It was nicknamed ‘The Dome of Home’ by merchant seamen returning to Liverpool during The Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War.

This restoration project initially began with National Lottery Heritage Funding in August 2018. A grant of £12,200 from Allchurches Trust to The Institute of Christ the King, who care for the church, means that over half of the match-funding support for 2020 work has now been secured.

Great plans are taking shape to complete the restoration of the majestic dome, drum and main Sanctuary of this beautiful landmark church including activities for the whole community linked to Wirral’s Borough of Culture 2019.

Since 2013, two-thirds of the roofs of this basilica-like building have been restored. However, concrete bursting from the Dome ring is putting previous investment at serious risk, and water ingress threatens the historic fabric. During the last project, a large lump of concrete fell onto a repaired chapel roof, confirming urgency. Fortunately, contractors were able to ‘patch’ repair onsite.

This new project will cover the Sanctuary barrel roof with a membrane, repoint brickwork, restore steel windows and cast-iron rainwater goods treating the structural concrete problems, making the whole church safe and watertight.

Canon Montjean, Rector of the church, said, “This grant from Allchurches Trust is a substantial contribution towards our match-funding for our most ambitious project yet! Thank you so much to Allchurches Trust and National Lottery players. We’ve launched a new ‘Friends’ group to help fundraising and they will be delighted at this massive help towards our target in November 2019 when we must submit the next HLF application.”

Allchurches Trust is one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities and gave £16.9 million to churches, charities and communities in 2018. Its funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

Allchurches Trust grants officer, Paul Playford, said: “This project is a true celebration of this heritage gem, but also of the rich history of the local community, and the church’s continuing and growing role within that community. It’s wonderful how this project is bringing together local people of all ages to share their reminiscences and collective experiences, with the aim of preserving them for future generations and improving wellbeing. We’re delighted to be able to support such an ambitious
and innovative project.”

Canon Montjean added, “We’ve planned our heritage activities to welcome new people, stimulate nostalgic memories but keeping the church’s primary function, open all day, every day, accessible for everyone to enjoy the oasis of traditional worship and Gregorian chant.”

Teams of volunteers are planning a varied Activity Programme for the whole community. It includes a dementia-friendly inspirational ‘Reflections book’, with contributions from local artists, photographers, poets and schoolchildren. There will be a digital photo album collecting and archiving personal heritage associated with the church, musical activities to bring the community together, a Secondary Education Pack and Continued Professional Development for Heritage professionals: something for all ages and abilities, and all happening in this wonderful building. Project Manager, Anne Archer commented, “Things are coming together. We’ve begun to collect family photos of events at the church for our new digital Photoalbum archive, to be completed in 2020, during the second phase of the project; and we’re just about to launch publicity to collect stunning local images from artists and photographers with inspiring reflections interspersed with memories of the church, to make people stop and ponder. It’s really exciting.”

If anyone has photos, artwork or reflections to contribute to this project, would like to join some volunteers to help or just book a volunteer-led Guided Tour or school visit, email contactus(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) or follow us on Facebook Dome of Home, Twitter @domeofhome or phone 0774 323 5046.

HLF 4 Presentation booklet

In September 2018, we won HLF funding for Development to prepare a second round Application by November/December 2019

This second round pass is highly competitive, but funding would restore the Dome, drum and Sanctuary roofs, to improve New Brighton. Local councils and museums have large teams of people working on Heritage Grant applications. We will not succeed in getting this funding without your help!

Please find here a presentation of the grant and a sign up form, if you want to help us for this development phase.