St Paul Parish of St. Paul  

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History of St. Paul's Church: St. Paul's, the one and only!

   

The parish originated in 1886 from the Mass Centre at the Chapel of the Priory of Our Lady of Good Council, Haywards Heath. The only church dedicated to St. Paul in the diocese had its foundation stone laid by Bishop Amigo on 30 October 1928 and was then opened on 12 June 1930 at a cost of £9000. Some parishioners still remember this great event.

Longley's, the local builder, carried out the construction. Bishop Peter Amigo's visit in 1931 records 'Making the Visitation for the first time to your own church on this, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, under whose protection I have already placed you...'
It wasn't until 1960 the church, with a capacity reaching 400, was consecrated as, until then, it had managed with a temporary altar. The parish now includes churches at St. Stephen's, Horsted Keynes, and Our Lady of Fatima, Staplefield.
Inside, the Stations of the Cross, crafted in northern France, were the gift of the (then) local editor of The Mid Sussex Times in memory of his parents, Charles and Anne Hayden. Their design is Romanesque - in keeping with the church's architecture - with the figures in old ivory and brown tones, and gold halos. St. Paul's was the first church in England to have this particular style.
Outside, the brick building was never fully completed. It was said that the original design was after the style of Westminster Cathedral and the original artist's impression of the building would support this argument. Also, a local story says that Haywards Heath was considered as a possible location for the mother church of the new diocese. The principal door of solid oak is framed in a surround of marble with a figure of St. Paul in Venetian glass mosaics above.
St. Paul
At the roadside is the grand crucifix for all to see, which was donated by a generous benefactor, Miss Amy Berkeley. Although gradually fading, the words at the foot of the cross are taken from a wayside cross in Stubaital Valley in the Tyrol. 'Stay wanderer and think on me here awhile, how I hung on the cross so that you should come to me.' Being in the middle of Sussex, could anyone wish for a more appropriate saying for the many wanderers that St. Paul's has at its door?
Peter Burholt
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