Frances Shaw

When you walk into a church, perhaps on holiday, you can usually tell straight away if it’s a living building, a place of prayer, alive with God’s spirit, cared for by a loving community, where things happen and God is at work.

Busbridge Church was consecrated on 1st March 1867. This was an era of great Victorian building. The foundation stone for the Royal Albert Hall was laid in May 1867, completed 1871; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1858; Charterhouse School 1872. Work on London’s Tower Bridge was started in 1886; opened in 1894 and cost about £1 million.

We have no pictures of our church being built, and have not been able to locate any original plans. Although the building was deemed to be too small in 1911, we are fortunate that it is not a ‘great barn of a place’, dark and uninviting. We are blessed with a rich Arts and Crafts heritage. It may not always be exactly what we would like for space, but I love it. For me, this building is not only physically warm but spiritually warm as well, reflecting a place of prayer and grace; a place where God has been honoured, baptisms, weddings and funerals marked.

This year, 1st March is Ash Wednesday, and there will be a special ashing service followed by an extended time of prayer. Next Sunday, 5th March, we shall be celebrating with a service in church at 10.00, as well as looking to the future with a short ceremony and lunch in the Rectory garden. We will be praying for and committing the whole site to God, and welcoming back many who have found God here and then moved on into different forms of Christian ministry. Do sign up and come. Much has happened in 150 years, the neighbourhood and times have changed and the world is a very different place. Yet the gospel message of Jesus Christ remains the same. Let’s celebrate!