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Church packed to see new look
THE Bishop of Oxford celebrated with 300 parishioners on Sunday as a church in Stokenchurch was reopened after six months.
St Peter and St Paul's underwent a £400,000 refurbishment and welcomed worshippers back at the weekend.
The Rt Rev John Pritchard held a service on Sunday afternoon. The parish's vicar, Rev Alistair France, said: "It was brilliant. We had just over 300 people, which was double what we were expecting.
"The church was looking magnificent and everyone seems to love it. "I think people were really struck by the atmosphere and the ambience, as it still reflected the old church."
The nave floor has been levelled; the decaying pews replaced with oak benches; a new heating system has been installed; a vestry has been added into the north aisle; the pre-Victorian balcony has been reinstated; and a kitchen has been installed under the tower. The church room was extended – doubling its size – and new storage and toilet facilities were added.
Rev France added: "We have had so many visitors over the last few days.
"We are hoping this will be an inspiration for some people to try church or come back to church."
There is also a community mosaic which includes several local features – the tower, the cutting, Red Kites, and of course, the church.
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