Worshippers could return to church

ONE of the most historic churches in Ipswich could once again become a place of worship, it can be revealed today.Negotiations are taking place about turning St Clement's church, near the Waterfront, into a centre for the growing Orthodox community in the town.

ONE of the most historic churches in Ipswich could once again become a place of worship, it can be revealed today.

Negotiations are taking place about turning St Clement's church, near the Waterfront, into a centre for the growing Orthodox community in the town.

There is currently no Orthodox presence in the town, the only Suffolk church is in Felixstowe, but an American backer has contacted the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust about taking over the building which has not been used for worship since the early 1970s.

James Hall from the Trust said: “It is still quite early days and there is no firm agreement, but this does look like a serious bid to bring the church back into permanent use.

“Currently it is being used by the Ipswich Hospital Band while restoration work is happening down the road at St Peter's but we would like to someone to move in there permanently.”

Mr Hall said there had been preliminary talks with officials at University College Suffolk about turning the former church, next to its new campus, into a chaplaincy and social centre for both UCS and New Suffolk College.

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However they had been unable to commit themselves to any project so the Historic Churches Trust had started talking to the American backer of the Orthodox Church.

Mr Hall said: “I think they have looked at a number of places in the Ipswich area, but are attracted to an existing church building, and especially one so near the Waterfront.”

The number of members of Orthodox churches in Suffolk has increased over recent years, especially with the increase in the number of migrants from eastern Europe to this country.

St Clement's Church facts:

The church dates from the Middle Ages, but was extended and remodelled during the Victorian era.

St Clement's was the home church to famous mariner Thomas Eldred.

Sir Thomas Slade, the naval architect who designed Nelson's flagship the HMS Victory, is buried in the churchyard.

The church roof was badly damaged by fire in 1996 but has now been fully restored.

Source: Star files.

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