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Final service at All Souls

After 116 years All Souls church closed its doors for the last time on Sunday, following its final service.

The Clive Vale church has suffered falling congregation numbers, and has been put in temporary closure.

It is expected to eventually be made redundant by Chichester diocese chiefs, and the service on Sunday was likely to have been the last parishioners take part in.

The foundation stone was laid on All Souls day, November 2, in 1889 by the designer Victorian architect Sir Arthur Bloomfield, who also built Christchurch in St Leonards, a wooden St George's cathedral in Georgetown, Guyana in Africa, many churches in his native London, and helped complete the Bank of England.

Grade-two listed All Souls was completed in 1891 and consecrated in June that year.

Features of the church include the Reredos mosaic behind the alter, depicting the nativity, saints and Old Testament prophets, which was completed five years after the church was built, and the stained-glass windows, particularly the west window, an original feature, Pre-Raphaelite in style.

Secretary of All Souls parochial church council, John Barker, lives opposite and has been a member of the congregation for over 60 years, and his parents before that.

"It's almost an extension of my home," Mr Barker, 64, said.

"We've come to a stage where we can't carry on. The thing that worries us is what happens to the future of the church."

Before the church is declared redundant, Mr Barker hopes the church council will have some say in what happens to it.

He said: "I've got lots of ideas. If it is feasible I would like it to be used as some sort of concert venue, but you do need a lot of backing," he said.

 
 
 

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