Today, as we remember all those who have given their lives in the service of their country, we give thanks for those Crusaders who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
We also pray for Westbrook as it stands as their permanent memorial. We pray that soon it would be able to be used for the glory of God once again, and that it would be filled with running feet, giggles and laughter as children and young people find space to meet with our Lord Jesus.
Urban Saints Westbrook, situated near Ryde on the Isle of Wight, started life as a large Victorian residence surrounded by 26 acres of mixed parkland
In 1948 Westbrook was purchased by The Crusaders Union, in memory of the Crusaders who lost their lives during the second World War.
The original intention of the Committee at the time was to use a Memorial Fund of just over £500 to purchase a field as a permanent camp site for the ever developing Crusader holidays. Sir J W Laing made this reply;
|"Oh no, surely we can do better than that. These fellows have given their lives for us; will you allow me to look for something more appropriate?"|
The Westbrook vision was born and in April 1947 Sir Laing and Mr Bevington (one of the founders of Crusaders) visited Westbrook for the first time. A Committee meeting held on 8th May 1947 discussed and agreed that Sir J W Laing could go ahead with negotiations for the Westbrook site. Less than two weeks later he announced that the house and grounds had been secured for £10,800.
On the 29th May 1948 a dedication service was held to mark the official opening of Westbrook. Mrs Laing was asked to turn the key, cross the threshold and pronounce Westbrook open.
Today at Westbrook, a book of remembrance lists the names of those who lost their lives, and a plaque on the wall in the entrance hall gives a hint to visitors as to why the Centre exists.
Dedicated to the glory of God and in memory of members of the Crusaders' Union who gave their lives in the World War 1939 - 1945
"In thy presence is fulness of joy"