St Wilfrid’s is the Church of England Parish Church in Bognor Regis. It is part of the Diocese of Chichester in the Deanery of Arundel and Bognor and located on the corner of Victoria Drive and Ellasdale Road, Bognor Regis.
Please note in view of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) all Public Acts of worship have had to be suspended see here for further information.
St. Wilfrid’s Church has been the Parish Church of Bognor Regis since 25th May 1971 when the mother church of St. John’s in London Road was closed and subsequently demolished in 1973. St. Wilfrid’s church was dedicated on 23rd April 1910. It is sited at the junction of Victoria drive and Ellasdale Road, roughly the geographical centre of the Parish and can seat around 200 in the present setup. There is a large Parish hall attached via a communal entrance, with a well-equipped kitchen, which is well used by various community groups.
The Churchwardens are Elaine Green and Malcolm Vernone and we have two retired clergy (Fr. Ray Whelan, and Fr Mark Everitt) covering services during the present interregnum.
To expand the church family through outreach and making a variety of worship, both tradition and new form, available to the present congregation, the people of Bognor and students of the town campus of the University of Chichester. In that respect St. Wilfrid’s is keenly investigating an Apostolic Partnership with St. Peter’s, Brighton and the H.T.B organisation.
To grow the congregation spiritually and in their practical daily worship, at church, home and house groups so they may come to Know, to Love, to Follow Jesus more closely.
To enable the town to see St. Wilfrid’s as a place of welcome and refuge, especially young families, students away from home; those seeking friendship, comfort and deeper meaning to their lives in a modern world.
About the town of Bognor Regis
The town has a population of approx. 25,000 of which a high proportion are over 60 with a high proliferation of retirement flats, care and nursing homes. A few of these are regularly visited by the retired priests and a small dedicated lay team, who take home communions on a regular basis.
Also, there is a large Eastern European community with smaller Filipino and non-Christian Asian communities. Increasingly, due to the present rapid expansion of the University on the northern boundary, there is a growing student population which is expected to enlarge by many thousands over the next 5+ years.
Existing pattern of worship
The Churchmanship is broad traditional Eucharistically based to encompass a wide taste.
Services have been a daily Eucharist before the present interregnum and are at present, during the week, Monday and Friday at 10.00 and Wednesday evening at 18:30.
Sunday services are 08:00 (Said Eucharist), 10:30 (Sung Parish Eucharist with a Family Eucharist on the 3rd Sunday) and 18:30 Evensong on the 2nd Sunday. Where major feast days fall on a Sunday, or are translated, these are usually celebrated in full with incense.
Other traditionally held services are Christmas Eve: Crib/Christingle and Midnight Mass, Christmas Day, Ash Wednesday Sung Eucharist, Stations of the Cross before evening Eucharist on Wednesdays in Lent, The Easter Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday Liturgy and the first Vigil Mass of Easter Saturday) and Corpus Christi. Also, there is a Service of 9 Lessons & Carols held in Advent and a very successful Pet Service in October.
The Parish is supported by 2 retired priests – Fr. Mark Everett who officiates Monday mornings and the monthly Evensong; Fr. Ray Whelan, who has been the effective Interregnum P-in-C for remaining services and baptisms.
There is a small dedicated Lay Eucharistic Ministry team who regularly take Home Communion to Nursing Homes and the housebound along with others who just visit.
Readings are read by the members of the congregation on a rota basis as well as the intersessions and there is a small team of servers to assist the priest at services.
Baptisms are usually on Sunday afternoons (12.30/13.00) or by special arrangement in the main 10.30 sung There has been a very strong musical tradition at St. Wilfrid’s. The church is fortunate to have a superb 3 manual Hele pipe organ plus electronic support from the Organist/Choir Trainer’s own slave keyboard and computer and there are 3 pianos, one of which is an antique Beckstein Grand. At present the choir is suspended until the Parish can launch a recruitment drive to restart. In the past it has been up to 36 strong, produced its own fund-raising album, and has partaken in choral festivals at various cathedrals.
At present, regrettably due to dwindling numbers, the church does not have an active Sunday School, though there is a leader in waiting who has done this before.
Schools. There are 2 Voluntary Aided Church of England schools in the Parish which Fr. Ray Whelan visits regularly with a monthly Eucharist. They are invited on alternate 3rd Sundays to partake in the Family Eucharist and once a term each school have their own service in the church. Also, Fr. Ray Whelan has built a strong connection with Southway County Primary, located just outside the Parish to the northwest, who he visits and they too come to the Church periodically.
All three come to the Church before Christmas for their Carol Concerts as does a local preschool and the University of Chichester.
After-School Club. Under the auspices of Family Support Work in The Diocese Charity (F.S.W.) a very successful monthly club is held. Most of the attendees, both adults and children, do not regularly attend church services though they some do come occasionally (Crib Service and Good Friday Workshop) and there have been baptisms come from this source. These are overseen by Jackie Herrington & John Child, the F.S.W. leaders along with a dedicated team of Parish helpers.
House Prayer and Study Groups. At present there a Thursday evening meeting biweekly.
Pilgrimage and Retreats. The Parish has in the past held an annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham of which some members of the congregation are Associates, as are 2 of the retired clergy. The Parish holds a Quiet-Day every September at the Bishop’s Palace in Chichester. Also, historically, 2 Holy Land trips and one to the north of England in the steps of St. Wilfrid have been held.
The Parish actively supports the 2 church schools, C.C.C. Stonepillow, the local Foodbank, the L’arche community, Christian Aid, The Children’s Society and charities who have contributed to the annual Pets Service including the RSPCA Mount Noddy Centre.
The Parish generally hold 2 fairs per year, Parish Sunday Lunches and numerous themed evenings to provide both fellowship, entertainment and fund-raising events. There is a monthly meeting of the Men’s Breakfast Club on the 2nd Saturday with some who never attend church and the very long-established Wives group who meet monthly with talks and events. Also, Jazz concerts and other types of music including the End of Year University Music Concert.
The Parish adheres to the Church of England Safeguarding strategy and policies. See