A small congregation with a ‘big heart’ mobilizes to save the Anglican Church of Sliema

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The small congregation of the Anglican Church in Sliema is appealing for help to save its crumbling steeple which has been damaged and needs urgent repair.

Damage to the steeple was discovered in the 19th-century Rudolph Street Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, about four months ago.

The damage was noticed by a member of the congregation when rocks began falling from the steeple, prompting the area to be cordoned off for everyone’s safety.

Ursula Smith, who runs the Bell Tower Appeal Project, hopes there is no more damage than it appears.

She said Malta weather that the priority was to determine the extent of the damage and plan the way forward, ensuring that it was contained. Built in 1866, its architecture resembles a typical English country church in the High Victorian style that was popular at the time. In an ever-changing Sliema, this gem in a relatively unspoilt expanse must be safeguarded to ensure its longevity, she said.

It is one of the earliest buildings in the city and has intrigued drivers and passersby on this often crowded street.

It’s really beautiful how the church has pulled itself together. It really commits us as a church to save our steeple– Ursula Smith, Bell Tower Call Project

Vibrations from the bell and passing cars were possible causes, though the age of the church and the weathering of the stonework may have contributed to the deterioration, Smith said.

The small Anglican church, a much-admired landmark in Sliema, has a small congregation of around 50 people who are now mobilizing to save the steeple.

They recently launched the Bell Tower Appeal to fund a two-step plan. A survey to assess the damage is the first step, followed by repairs.

Smith explained that if he is lucky the damage is limited to what can be seen. If the damage is more extensive, the money will be used to make it safe and buy time until they can explore the possibility of funding opportunities covering the renovation of historic buildings.

To raise funds, volunteers have organized a table sale which takes place every Saturday outside Bishop House, next to the church, selling a variety of goods including books, ornaments and clothing.

Smith looks on the bright side: “It’s really beautiful how the church has pulled itself together. It really commits us as a church to saving our steeple.

She is also grateful for the response from the community, with people stopping her on the street to give her items to sell at the church. “People who live here all grew up with the sound of this bell and they don’t want it to be silent,” she adds.

The little church and its members have big hearts. Despite efforts to raise funds for the bell tower, they have been busy hosting Ukrainians and their children who need a place to hold art therapy sessions.

“The appeal of our steeple is so minor compared to what is happening in such a beautiful country. Putting our tower in front of them would be a mistake,” she added.

Donations can be sent to Belfry Appeal, Holy Trinity Church, 75 Rudolph Street, Sliema or arranged over the phone by calling 79331088.

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