VIDEO FEATURE: Parish church returned to former glory

A BEAUTIFUL 13th Century church, which was seriously damaged by fire three-and-a-half years ago, was officially re-opened at the weekend.

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, led a service of re-dedication in front of packed pews at St Mary Magdalene in Whatlington.

Whatlington Church open day after the fire of 2010. 8/2/14

Whatlington Church open day after the fire of 2010. 8/2/14

The Grade II Listed church was devastated by fire in July 2010, which destroyed much of the building’s historic roof.

Generous supporters helped raise money towards the £800,000 needed to restore the building.

Many of these supporters were present for the moving service on Sunday.

There were people present to represent all the varying skills and crafts employed in the restoration, together with the architect, insurers and others involved.

As the bishops processed into the church, they were greeted by a musical performance by members of the Battle Town Band in the gallery.

In addition to Bishop Martin, the congregation was also joined by Archdeacon Philip Jones, the Rural Dean, Rev John Edmondson, former Priest-in-Charge Rev Stephen Huggins, Rev Angela Cooke and Reader Jacqueline Kemp, the latter two who both take services at the church, and of course current Priest-in-Charge Rev Kevin Mepham.

Churchwarden Jeffrey Bridges said: “With the church now well and truly back in business we have a change of time for our regular service to 9.30am every Sunday, except the second Sunday of each month when the All Age Service remains at 10.30am and we look forward to welcoming you.”