St Thomas à Becket at Cliffe with All Saints Cliffe High Street, Lewes, East Sussex

Churches are opening their doors again, albeit for private worship only with some social distancing restrictions.

One of the first religious buildings in the county to re-open after lockdown was forced to close moments later after a minor electrical problem. However, quick work at the ancient church in Lewes saw the doors re-open by mid morning on Saturday [13 June] to welcome visitors for private prayer and mediation. Public worship is still forbidden by the government’s restrictions, and so services at St Thomas à Becket remain suspended.

“Everyone worked really hard over the preceding three days so that we were ready to open again”, said Churchwarden Trevor Butler, “and I am really grateful to all those who made it possible, not least nearby Goldfinch’s dry cleaners who provided the necessary PPE for our daily cleaners who will be following a strict anti-viral regime to ensure safety. It is marvellous that we can once again have the church open.”

The Cliffe parish church has the second-old mechanical clock in East Sussex and the aim is to get this going again as soon as possible. “At the start of lockdown it was only permissible to visit the church once a week, to check the fabric of the building”, added Trevor. “Because our historic clock needs careful attention every day, including winding, it fell silent and has been sadly missed by many at this end of the town. We are in touch with our horologists who will soon come and ensure it chimes once again.”

St Thomas’ plans to be open every day and has put in place stringent safety precautions to ensure the welfare of visitors.