St George the Martyr church reopens

The congregation of St George the Martyr church returned home on Palm Sunday - after an 18-month closure for restoration - with a procession down Borough High Street.

St George the Martyr church reopens
Palm Sunday procession in St Thomas' Street
St George the Martyr church reopens
Members of the Cherubim & Seraphim Church joined the procession in Borough High Street
Christopher Chessun
Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Woolwich, once worked in a Borough High Street solicitors' office
On the steps of St George's
Revd David Pape reads Psalm 122 on the steps of St George's
Inside St George the Martur
The Bishop processes down the nave through an arch of palms

The 3.6 million project to stabilise and protect the historic Southwark church building began in September 2005. Since then the congregation of St George the Martyr has been worshipping at Guy's Chapel.

Sunday's procession began at Guy's Chapel and made its way down St Thomas' Street and Borough High Street.

The Bishop of Woolwich, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, joined the parish for the procession and presided at the first Eucharist in the restored building.

Simon Hughes MP was among the guests in the large congregation gathered to celebrate the reopening of the church.

In her sermon parish reader Kathy Sheen paid tribute to St George's former rector Revd Tony Lucas, who retired last year, for initiating and leading the restoration project.

She also remembered James Ozigi, senior apostle of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church which worships at St George's, who was killed in a car crash in Nigeria last November.

Building work at the church continues, and more funds still need to be raised to allow full use to be made of the crypt space below the church, but the church has now reopened for Sunday services.

Local residents are invited to view the progress of restoration work at an open day on Saturday 14 April.

On Sunday 22 April St George the Martyr will welcome its new priest-in-charge Fr Ray Andrews, currently assistant priest at St John's East Dulwich.

On Wednesday 25 April local history librarian Stephen Humphrey will give a talk about Local Industries in Southwark in aid of the restoration fund.

A church has stood on the site since the 12th century. The present building dates from 1736.

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