‘Full house’ for the rededication of St Matthew’s

We welcomed the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, to St Matthew’s on 12 March for a wonderful service of rededication (click here to see the report in the Hampshire Chronicle and here to view a video of the service). The celebrations saw the church filled virtually to capacity, with around 60 people in the building. The congregation included Lady Appleyard and two further representatives of the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust – one of several grant-making bodies that have supported the project including the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Peter Seal said, ‘This is a real moment of celebration for our parish and the local community. I am so grateful to the people who have made this project possible. Now we must move forward, inspired by their legacy, to use this community facility and make it a real source of local pride for the 21st century.’

Prayer of rededication

Heavenly Father we rejoice today with heartfelt thanks as we worship you here in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We thank you for this ancient parish church which has stood as a physical witness to your presence for so many hundreds of years.

We remember with thanksgiving your faithful disciples in every age who have worshipped you here; for all who have come to celebrate on happy occasions and to seek comfort at times of sadness and in all kinds of need.

We praise you, Father, that the good news of the gospel is timeless, giving thanks for faithful Christians in our own age whose vision, hard work and generosity have equipped this ancient building to meet the needs of both church and community in the 21st century. Guide and inspire, we pray, all who are now committed to using this building, which is both old and renewed, to the glory of the name of your dear Son Jesus Christ.

And so Lord God, I now bless and rededicate this church of St Matthew’s, Winchester, in your name, Father, and of the Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.