Church Tour Introduction The Lady Chapel Chapel of the Cross The Chancel Screen The High Altar The North Aisle The South Aisle The Main Body of the Church The Nave Altar The Font

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The Nave Altar

The provision of a Nave Altar at Saint Faith`s was one of a series of innovations proposed by Fr Charles Billington soon after he became vicar in 1966. The changes introduced by Fr Charles were an attempt to bring Saint Faith`s “up-to-date” and to enable the congregation to take a real part in the services, particularly the Eucharist. As with all change, many of the ideas were not popular and one of the Church Wardens resigned very soon after the new vicar arrived; within a month of Fr Charles` induction Mr E.A. Pratt, the organist and choirmaster, resigned in protest at the introduction of contemporary music. Although many of the other changes made a number of people uneasy, it was the idea of a Nave Altar which caused most concern. Today it is an accepted fact of worship at Saint Faith`s but in the late 1960s a number of people lefte the church because of it.

Fr Charles believed that the Nave Altar was the keystone in his series of changes and in a series of articles in the parish magazine he outlined his views. The Nave Altar was to be central to worship at Saint Faith`s with lay participation being an essential feature. Debate was strong but a vote in 1969 saw 64 in favour, 23 against and 4 abstaining. The Nave Altar was consecrated in 1971. Today it is difficult to imagine what all the fuss was about and use of the Nave Altar is as natural as hymns at the Sung Eucharist but the Nave Altar, Fr Charles' other changes, and the controversy which surrounded them typify the church and its congregation. Saint Faith's has always tried to be a strong and vibrant church with a congregation, and clergy, passionate about its faith and worship.

At the same time, a lectern, candlesticks and a set of portable kneelers were commissioned and installed in a matching style to that of the nave altar itself: these can be identified in the photograph above.