Last month All Saints Church reached an important milestone in its long history when, after nearly nine months of building work, the church reopened for Sunday worship. A special week of events and activities celebrated the completion of the project which has meant that Sunday services have been held at Lindfield Primary Academy since April last year.
The project, called ASPIRE, was launched in March 2013 and was comprised of three phases. The first was the retiling of the church spire and other essential work on the windows and stonework. The second was the remodelling of internal space to create a new accessible toilet, a clergy vestry and a multi-use room. And the third, which involved closing the church, has resulted in a new limestone tiled floor with underfloor heating, replacement of pews with chairs, a new central dais for leading worship, new audio visual facilities, improved lighting and full redecoration.
Chairman of the ASPIRE Steering Group Roy Ransley explained: “A key objective of ASPIRE was to ensure that the church building was able to provide a warmer, more welcoming and more flexible environment for its users and worshippers. It was, of course, important that the special historical past of the building was honoured, and, as part of the extensive consultation, a number of statutory bodies such as Historic England, the Victorian Society and the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings were involved in the necessary formal approval process to proceed with the work.”
Although All Saints is now open, some minor work is needed in the West Tower to complete the project and this will be done in conjunction with the installation of new bells which will take place in the next few months.
Canon James Clarke, vicar of Lindfield, commented: “Completion of ASPIRE is due to the support of many people in the church and the local community who have given so generously with their valued time and money to enable the project to proceed and for this we give heartfelt thanks. We now have a parish church that can be used practically on days other than Sunday, as many people saw in the ‘Come & See’ week early last month. If you didn’t manage to make it to one of the events, you are very welcome to call in on any weekday to see what has been done, and to come to one of the Sunday services.”