About Saint Richard

Richard of Wych (so called from the place of his birth, the Worcestershire town of Droitwich) was born in 1197. Although left with little money, he studied hard and made a good impression on the authorities at Oxford, eventually becoming chancellor of the University. About 1235 he became chancellor of the diocese of Canterbury under his friend Archbishop Edmund Rich, and he went with the archbishop during his exile in France. When they returned, Richard became vicar of Deal.

In 1244 Richard was elected Bishop of Chichester. King Henry III wanted another man and refused to let Richard have the income of the see or to enter Chichester. Richard was forced to live simply in the parsonage of his friend Simon of Tarring. From here he travelled around his diocese, becoming known to his people and knowing them.

Aldwick is a seaside parish in West Sussex, 2 miles from Bognor Regis and 6 miles from Chichester. It is a very welcoming residential community with many families and children, and also a desired spot for retired people. It was in Aldwick that King George V spent his convalescence, although Bognor claimed the credit and added ‘Regis’ to its name!

On 16 June 1276, in the presence of King Edward I, Queen Eleanor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a great crowd of people, St Richard’s body was moved to a shrine behind the high altar of his cathedral, where it became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for the people of Sussex.

Under Henry VIII the shrine was destroyed, but during the last century Richard’s shrine has been restored as a place of pilgrimage and he himself has been restored to a proper place in the life of the Church he served so faithfully as bishop.

The Parish Church of St Richard dates from 1934 and was the last stone-built church in Sussex. Here we rejoice in the Catholic heritage of the Church of England, and we come together to worship God as his Son Jesus Christ taught us at his Last Supper. There is a flourishing Sunday School group for various ages and we all join together for the Liturgy of the Sacrament. St Richard’s has 8 bells, a good choir and an organ, and an emphasis on offering our best to God in music and liturgy.

When Henry III was eventually forced to let the bishop have his rights, Richard entered Chichester and began reforming Church administration in the diocese. He was pious and accessible, strict with himself but loving to his flock, and he became their friend and hero. In 1253 he dedicated a chapel in Dover to the memory of his old friend, now St Edmund Rich, but shortly afterwards he died 3 April 1253.

The Prayer of St Richard

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you

for all the benefits you have won for us,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for us.

Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,

may we know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly,

day by day.

Dear Friends,

Following the Government announcement on the 4th January that we are yet again in a National Lockdown and reflecting on the current situation in Bognor and the wider Arun district regarding the rate of infection, and the current strain on St Richard's hospital. With the full support of the Churchwardens and the PCC, I have taken the difficult decision to suspend all public worship at St Richard's Aldwick, with immediate effect. This is a decision that will be reviewed regularly but we do not anticipate returning to public worship until at least the 21st February 2021. 

We are also closing the church for private prayer at this time- this is also with immediate effect and will be reviewed regularly. 

I realise that these decisions will be welcomed by many of you, and to others this response will come as a disappointment- especially as public worship and private prayer in church is still permitted where safe, in this Lockdown. So please know that these decisions have not been taken lightly but reflect the very serious situation that we find ourselves living in and our duty of care for you, our neighbours and all those who visit St Richard's church.

It is an enormous privilege that, during this time of crisis the nation has called upon its church to keep praying and so we must answer that call, as a dispersed community. Our corporate worship will look different for the next few months but keeping our eyes fixed on Him, who is our comfort and guide, continues to be the church's duty and its joy.

We will continue to share a weekly service on-line, as well as making a return to saying the Daily Office online several times a week. More information will follow on resources being made available for those who are not able to engage with online services.

God bless you all- and please know you are loved and prayed for, and that we are ready to support you, whenever you need and contact us.

Mthr Lucy