On Saturday 16 July 1960 the Bishop of Taunton, the Rt. Rev. Mark Hodgson dedicated the new Church of St. Francis to the people of Sydenham Estate.

Nearly 1,000 parishioners and friends turned out for the event and loudspeakers had to be relayed to the hundreds stood outside as the building could not accommodate them all.

The service was attended by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman Mrs Alice Potterton, Sir Gerald Wills M.P for Bridgwater with lady Wills, the Town clerk Mr H.A Clidero, and several members of the town Council.

There was a full choir in attendance at the service which opened with a procession including the Bishop, the Archdeacon of Taunton, the Ven G.F fiddler; the incumbent of the new church the Rev E.A.E Gill and the Vicar of St John’s Church, the Rev P.M Taylor and the Rural Dean.

Many of the clergy from surrounding parishes were also present.

After the Alter had been consecrated by the Bishop it was then vested with frontal linen, cross and candles, after which the Bishop received the Ciborium and placed it on the altar.

Then followed the dedication of the church, including the font and pulpit.

The new church will seat 250 and there will be a church hall adjoining and a vicarage.

Until now church worship has been at St Andrew’s mission hut and services have been duplicated at All Saints church which was built in 1882 and will no longer be used.

The new parish includes all the Sydenham estate where the population is about 8,000, the Bridge Estate, Dunwear, East Bower, Redgate St and Loxleigh Ave.
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