e-mail simon@suffolkchurches.co.uk

Cavendish Community Church, Felixstowe

  Talk of the Church of England's demise is greatly exaggerated, of course; but it is nice to see it making a bold statement, and the recent arrival of Cavendish Community Church is definitely that. Here is the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich's most modern building, on the Cavendish Park estate on the west side of Felixstowe. Actually within the parish of Walton, I'm assuming that it serves as a chapel of ease to St Mary, Walton, which may also explain why it is the only Anglican church in Suffolk currently without a dedication.

This may be the only Anglican church in England with a No trolleys beyond this point sign. Well, they do clutter up the aisles somewhat.

It replaced the nearby 1950s hut of St Philip with a purpose built, state of the art, worship-space (I love that phrase!) incorporating offices and meeting rooms all under one roof, rather in the manner of a 1970s Student Union building. It opened in 1994 beside the contemporary superstore; unkind people have been heard to refer to it as St Safeways.

Windows of offices and meeting rooms on the south side. The church itself is within.

  This is a complex, heavily populated and industrialised district. Within a mile are the European Social Priority area of the Grange housing estate, and the vast complex of Felixstowe Docks, Britain's biggest.

People who don't know Suffolk tend to think of it as a rural idyll, with pretty pink cottages set among gently rolling hedgerows. Well, these are easy enough to find, if you want them. But most Suffolkers live within five miles of the centre of the big four towns. This neighbourhood is wholeheartedly urban.

Cavendish Community Church is a good-looking building, blending two main types of brick to create details, and also a timber effect, although you have to look closely to see any exposed wood. A skylight about the church builds to an array of piping, surmounted by a cross, which always seems to have a seagull sitting on it.

As one may imagine, the worship here is hardly traditionalist in character; friends of mine who used to go here have described it as 'charismatic', although I find this an increasingly misused word.

All in all, this is a significant, attractive and well-used building. However, you must expect to find it locked when not in use.

  Cavendish Community Church can be found on the Superstore exit of the Dock Spur Road, off of the A14 in north Felixstowe. I found it locked, although it is often in use, so you may be lucky.