New Welcoming Christ statue unveiled at Launde Abbey

A new statue of the “Welcoming Christ” has been installed at Launde Abbey and was dedicated in a special ceremony by the Bishop of Loughborough, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani, at 1pm on Friday November 29th.

The figure of Christ standing with arms outstretched has been a powerful symbol of the Christian hospitality of Launde Abbey, which has been the retreat house for the Church of England Diocese of Leicester since 1957 and subsequently for Peterborough Diocese as well.

The new statue is 2.5m high and 2.5m wide and replaces an identical one, which dates back to the late 1950s. It was originally created as a bronze resin cast by Tita Maddon (nee Dawson), who was born in Brazil but knew Launde well because her grandfather Charles Alfred Dawson was one of the generations of Dawsons who lived in the house.

By 2015 it was seriously deteriorating, and the decision was made to commission a new solid bronze statue to be in place for the 900th anniversary of Launde in 2019.

Representing the risen Christ appearing to the Apostles, the statue conveys embrace, welcome and commissioning.  The statue has been incorporated into the logos of both Launde Abbey, and the Diocese of Leicester.

Launde Abbey Warden David Newman commented: “I am delighted that this iconic statue has been renewed in our 900th anniversary year and believe that it is an important sign of Launde Abbey’s enduring significance as place of retreat, pilgrimage and encounter with the Christian faith.”

The new statue occupies a striking position in the rear garden of the Abbey, and is visible on the slope as cars turn into the car park. With new lighting installed in front of it, it will serve to welcome the many retreatants and visitors to the Abbey for years to come.

Bishop of Loughborough, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani who is also Chair of the Trustees of Launde Abbey, said: “I’m very excited that the new statue of Christ is finally in place after much preparation and planning. It stands as a visible symbol and constant reminder for the life of the Abbey which is to be a place of welcome, embrace and Christian retreat.”

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