In 1979 the missionaries serving in the England Manchester Mission visited the Lake District for a day. While there they visited a church in Hawkshead, a small town, and were greeted by the incumbent Vicar, Reverend Norman Scott. The missionaries were invited into the church and spent time with Reverend Scott. His kindness was not forgotten. That experience for some of the missionaries would become a blessing for the local congregation many years later.
The name of the Church is St Michaels and All Angels, with part of it dating back to the 13th century.
In 2016, one of those missionaries, Brent Brown, was visiting the Lakes, with his wife, for the first time since 1979. He came across leaflets and information about a campaign to raise funds for the Bell Tower. Brent Brown was inspired and galvanised to do something to repay the kindness shown all those years ago and so got in touch with the church’s fundraiser Dawn Bonham.
On return to the USA Brent Brown set about getting in touch with all those who were there 38 years ago and started to contribute to the fundraising campaign. They raised more than £15,000 for the fund.
Dawn Bonham said at the time the donation was received in 2017, “This is a superbly generous gesture by people who have felt inspired to support us from a great distance of time and geography! We are delighted with this incredible donation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This celebrates all that we share in ecumenical terms. This donation puts us much closer to our target and we are extremely grateful for all they have done.'
In January 2019 the restoration of the Bell Tower was completed, and a service of celebration was organised. Invitations were extended to the Church to be present at this service. The invitation was taken up by President McReynolds, Manchester Mission President, along with President Humphreys, Kendal Branch President, who were accompanied by their wives along with full-time missionaries and other representatives of the church. All who attended the service were warmly greeted by members of the local congregation, during which the generous donation made by members of the Church was acknowledged.
Following the service, there was a munch and mingle. An impromptu ringing of the bells was organised; visiting guests were invited to go up into the bell tower and watch the bell ringers at work.
Friendships were made, positive conversations took place, ‘barriers’ were removed and, most importantly, a great act of service had been rendered. As people prepared to depart at the end of the evening one last request was extended by Dawn Bonham, who was the driving force behind the fundraising; it was to President McReynolds, “Please keep in close contact.”
All those who attended were ‘one’ that evening.