The Bishop of Basingstoke visited All Saints’ Church, Basingstoke recently to join the congregation in celebrating the church’s 100th anniversary, and to lead a Eucharist of Thanksgiving.
Built during some of the darkest stages of World War One, when news of deaths in action were a part of daily life, All Saints’ has stood as a sign of hope throughout its 100 year history. As many young men had joined the war effort, the church had to be constructed by stonemasons too old to be called up, and it was finally completed in September 1917 as the Battle of Passchendaele was raging across the Channel. Since then the church has remained a source of fellowship, comfort and encouragement to the local community, providing a place of worship for a faithful congregation of young and old, where everyone is always welcome.
The Right Reverend David Williams, the Bishop of Basingstoke, said:
“It is a pleasure to be part of All Saints’ centenary celebrations, and an honour to lead the congregation in worship. The church of All Saints is a beautiful, peaceful and inspiring place and has been at the heart of the local community throughout its history. The congregation here ensure that the Church is a place of true Christian welcome.”
The Rev Rosalind Rutherford, Vicar of All Saints’ Church, said:
“I’m very pleased that Bishop David has been able to join with us in celebration of this significant occasion. The dedication of a new church in 1917, in the midst of a campaign which resulted in about a quarter of a million casualties on each side, was certainly a sign of Christian hope. In the same way, as we celebrate the centenary of All Saints and the people who have created the community here, we continue to find joy and hope in the midst of an unpredictable and violent world through our Christian faith.”
Sunday’s Thanksgiving Eucharist celebrated the community that has shared their Christian faith and made the church the place of welcome it is today. As part of centenary celebrations there was also a talk about the history of the church by local historian Debbie Reavell, and a festival of “Living Stones, Flowers and Faith” which featured displays including copies of drawings and plans of the church, the originals of which are held in the RIBA archive at the V&A.