In 1954 Seaford U.D.C. offered a half-acre site on the newly developed Chyngton estate. This offer was accepted by the Church Commissioners in this area known as Sutton-cum-Seaford. The idea of a mission hall was born. The hall was built with a suggestion that eventually it could also be made suitable for worship, by an adaptation of the hall or an extension. St Luke’s Church was completed and dedicated on the 10th June 1959 by The Lord Bishop of Chichester. A most important factor was that the Sunday School, already established but meeting at Chyngton Primary School, now had a church of their own to attend.
Instead of the usual custom of an eastern position for the altar, it had to be placed at the west end. The reason for this problem was that originally a further building adjoining the tower was to be built for the church, but the lack of finance was prohibitive. Since the eastern end of the hall contained the stage, the altar had to be at the west end. Nowadays when the church is used as a hall, the Sanctuary is hidden by folding doors.
In 1977, it was hoped a bell would be installed in the tower, but there were insufficient funds. Instead a cross was placed on top of the tower, which can be illuminated at night. This still provides a wonderful symbol of the light of Christ shining in the darkness. When the foundation stone was laid on 8th November 1958, a plaque was set on the outside wall of the tower with the inscription – A*M*D*G (Ad majorem Dei gloriam) which is Latin for ‘To the greater glory of God’.
The total cost was £15,791.00 paid by the Diocese, Seaford parish and Chyngton residents. The loans were cleared by 1963. Funds were raised through various events such as the summer fetes. The fetes continue to be a popular fund raising event for all.
St Nicholas Church, Brighton, collected strips of halfpennies which were given to the Diocese for annual distribution to any church in need. St Luke’s was included and the wooden altar, still used, was presented.
During the past 50 years there has been 13 curates serving at St Luke’s – all accountable to the incumbent of Seaford parish. Each curate has contributed in some special way to the story of St Luke’s and each in their own style.
Over the years, it is recognised that as society and cultures change, so the style of worship has to adapt sensitively to connect with people seeking faith and to help the faith of committed Christians to grow and mature. It is a time of change, but we seek to proclaim the gospel of Christ which is unchanging. Jesus said, ‘I am the same yesterday, today and forever.’
We thank and praise God for his infinite and great love for all and for the ministry of St Luke’s through the past 50 years.
We continue to pray that more people will come to faith, grow in faith, then go and share God’s love with all.