** 06-01-2018 – Message from Fr. Roger Caswell re. the future of St. James The Great **
It was in the early summer of 2016 that St James Parochial Church Council reluctantly made the decision that the time had come when the church would have to close.
St James’s history stretches back over more than 100 years. Originally a daughter church of St Mary’s, it became a parish in its own right, and has faithfully served the people of an area which over recent years has become steadily more socially deprived.
Once the decision was made to close the church, there was a period of consultation, headed by the Archdeacon of Chichester. Various community groups were involved, and it was hoped that both the church and the hall could continue to be used: the church possibly for worship by another Christian fellowship, and both buildings for a variety of community activities.
Last autumn Bishop Martin decided that this was not the way forward. While services would no longer be held at St James, the church would become a “Chapel of Ease” (1). This would allow more time to consider the building’s long-term future. Meanwhile both the church and the hall will continue to be used for various activities, though of course the church will not be used for worship.
So – St James Church will close for worship this month.
The Bishop of Chichester will celebrate a final Mass at St James on Sunday 28th January at 6.30 pm – an act of thanksgiving for God’s blessings, and for many years of faithful ministry, worship and witness; and an act of commitment that God will guide the continuing ministry and witness of the Church in this part of Littlehampton.
Please pray for those for whom this decision is painful. And that those for whom St James has been their spiritual home in the past may be helped and encouraged as they begin a new stage in their Christian lives.
(1) Chapel of Ease – The Church building itself will remain as is, but will not be used for worship. Use of the Church/Hall by the community will continue as normal.