12 June 2022
The Cross and Stable Church in
Downs Barn is a new ecumenical
church building in Milton Keynes
In recent months, I have been visiting churches around Milton Keynes, in particular seeking out many of the historical buildings that predate the 20th century vision for a new city in Milton Keynes.
On the other hand, one of the new churches I have visited in recent weeks in this new city is the Cross and Stable Church in Downs Barn.
Stephen Fletcher introduced me to this church, one of the newest churches in Milton Keynes. The church involves a partnership of the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Church. It is also part of the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership and is part of the Diocese of Oxford.
Cross and Stable Ecumenical Church was designed by Denton Tunley Scott in 1986. The architects Wayland Tunley and David Grindley (now of Grindley Architects) designed the building as a combined church and community centre and as part of a complex that includes a vicarage and workshops. Milton Keynes Development Corporation made a contribution to the bell tower as part of a budget to provide local landmarks throughout the city.
The congregation is ‘ecumenical,’ with people coming from different denominations and traditions, and the services reflect this variety, including material from the Church of England, Methodist and Iona liturgies.
It says, ‘We are a young growing Church that welcomes everybody to worship God together. There is music, readings and reflections. Visitors and newcomers – especially families and children, are very welcome to our lively service.’
The church has a service every Sunday at 11 am, with Sunday School or Junior Church. These are mainly Communion services. On the first Sunday each month a team of volunteers sign the service for the benefit of people who are deaf and hearing impaired.
Cross and Stable is in a partnership with Bradwell Church (Saint Lawrence) within the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership. The Associate Minister is the Revd Dr Sam Muthuveloe, Associate Priest in the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership, and the Licensed Lay Minister is Stephen Fletcher. They share their ministry with the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Willen, the only surviving church among the buildings designed by the scientist, inventor, and architect Robert Hooke.
Other activities include: ChatterBoxMK every Wednesday providing an opportunity ‘to chat and connect’; fortnightly Bible studies on Thursdays; ‘Friday 2 pm on Zoom,’ with prayers and Bible reflections; and Bellringers.
The church building is also used on Sunday afternoons by two independent church groups: World of Grace and Winning Souls.
The Community Centre in the Cross and Stable building is available to hire for community and social functions.
The Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership involves six churches from four denominations in north-east Milton Keynes: Saint Lawrence, Bradwell; Saint James’s, New Bradwell; Saint Andrew’s, Great Linford; Saint Mary Magdalene, Willen; Christ Church, Stantonbury; and Cross and Stable, Downs Barn.