The Bishop of Chichester will be at St Wilfrid’s Church in Haywards Heath on Sunday to open four months of celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary.
St Wilfrid’s Church was built by Gothic Revival architect George Frederick Bodley in 1865 as the new town’s first Anglican parish church.
To mark the landmark anniversary this year, the church has announced a varied programme of events, including four summer concerts, family activities and a flower festival.
On Sunday June 7 the Rt Rev Dr Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester, starts this summer’s celebrations at a special parish opening eucharist and 10.30am.
The anniversary events kick off on Saturday June 13 with a children’s concert at the church at 4pm.
There will be a celebration weekend on Saturday June 27 and Sunday June 28, which will include a puppet show at 2pm and cream teas at 3pm in the Centenary Hall, St Wilfrid’s Way, with a summer fayre in its car park.
In the church on Saturday there will be an open day and flower festival, which continue on 2pm to 4pm on the Sunday, followed by Songs of Praise at 6.30pm.
Two special St Wilfrid’s ales, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary, are being brewed and bottled and will be on sale in Haywards Heath this summer.
Four evening concerts have been organised in the church all at 7pm on Saturdays.
The first is on June 20 called ‘Four Centuries of Lute and Guitar Music’ will be performed by classical guitarist Paul Gregory.
Jazz at St Wilfrid’s follows on July 25.
Then on August 22 former St Wilfrid’s Church organist and director of music Richard Toms presents a recital on its 1998 Tickell organ including works by Bach, Beethoven, Liszt and several modern composers.
The final concert, featuring the New Sussex Singers, is on September 19.
Buying tickets for each concert separately, the prices are £10 each for adults and £2 each for under-18s. Adult season tickets for the four concerts are available at £28, but only until the first concert on June 20.
The church will also welcome the return of four former clergy as guest preachers for selected 9.30am Sunday services.
The Rev Alison Letschka will speak on July 5, the Rev Andrew Cunnington on July 12 and the Rev Jean Sedgley on August 9.
The Rt Rev Ian Brackley, Bishop of Dorking, who was the immediate predecessor of the current rector until 1996, will take to the pulpit on August 23.
Also included in St Wilfrid’s Church’s summer celebrations are a family worship service followed by a barbecue on Sunday August 16 (tickets required) and an open day with harvest scarecrows on Saturday September 12, 10am to 4pm.
The next day will be the church’s harvest festival celebrations.
The ambitious anniversary programme concludes on Sunday October 11 when the Feast of St Wilfrid will be celebrated with the Rt Rev Mark Sowerby, the Bishop of Horsham.
Tickets for the concert and barbecue are available from the Parish Office (open 9.30am to 11am Tuesday to Friday) or the rectory, also in St Wilfrid’s Way.
People can also call the parish office on 01444 412339 or buy them during church services.
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