Sunday Worship Returns to St Philip’s in Wadgate Road
The church and hall in Wadgate Road, Felixstowe, now known as St Philip’s Community Hub, will once again hold weekly services after a 30-year gap.
A church was built on a new estate in Felixstowe and was completed in 1952, the same year The Queen came to the throne. It was built by the Church of St Mary’s in Walton. The vicar at the time, Rev’d Ross Sage, and the church council managed to obtain land in Wadgate Road for the princely sum of £1 and it only cost £1,497, raised by local church members and the local community, to build the church. The church was thriving so much that by 1956, the Sunday school alone welcomed 217 children each week, and in 1958 a church hall was added next door to accommodate this growth.
In the 1980s, church attendance declined and in 1991, St Mary’s made the difficult decision to close St Philip’s as a worship space after 40 years of success. However, the church and hall remained in constant use as Cavendish Community Church, which became Christ Church Felixstowe. In 2000, the church was used by the English Orthodox Church, creating a beautiful worship space with icons and ornate decorations, while the hall was used by a nursery.
Eventually, the English Orthodox Church decided to relocate. At this time, another local nursery took up residence in the church. The hall has been used for various activities, including a pop-up shop since 2016, once again becoming the centre of the local community.
Covid-19 and food poverty have hit this area hard and in 2020 during the pandemic, the hall was re-branded as St Philip’s Community Hub. Every Thursday, the Hub is open for socialising, games, craft and art activities. Free tea and coffee are available as well as a light lunch. Both Parish Nursing and CAP, a debt counselling service, are available at the Hub.
With all this combined, the Hub is able to meet social, financial, physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing needs. The Hub has made fantastic links with other like-minded businesses and community organisations and is part of a group providing free meals during school holidays, with the Hub taking its turn on Thursdays.
2022 marks the Platinum Jubilee of the church in Wadgate Road. From 25 September, St Philip’s, as a worshipping community, will be reborn in the hall and café style Morning Worship services will be held every Sunday at 11am. It’s an apt way to celebrate this much-loved church during its 70th anniversary year.
Who knows what the next chapter of St Philip’s will look like? It is hoped that generations to come will continue to enjoy this essential community space, and with that in mind, the church is looking at options for redevelopment to make this space even better.