On May 16, exactly 100 years since the original time capsule was first placed under the pulpit (May 16, 1923), the original items will be re-installed in the new Ambo (lectern) along with modern-day versions of the same artefacts.
A 50p piece bearing the head of King Charles III, pages from the day’s Times newspaper, a photograph of Parish Priest Fr Christopher Smith and details of the current Holy Father, the Bishop of East Anglia, the Parish Priest and King Charles will be added to the original items.
During extensive renovation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in 2019, the original pulpit was removed, explained Laurette Burton.
“Installed in 1923, seven years after the church was built, the pulpit seemed out of proportion with the building and blocked an aisle. During its removal the builders discovered a time capsule underneath. In an old-fashioned milk bottle were pages of the Times newspaper dated May 15, 1923, some contemporary coins, a photograph of the first Parish Priest Fr Henry St Leger Mason holding the time capsule and a card in Fr Henry’s handwriting explaining in Latin that the time capsule would be placed under the pulpit on the May 16, 1923.
“His note gave the name of the Pope, the Bishop of the Diocese of Northamptonshire, his name as Parish Priest and of the King who was George V. Fr Henry also named the anonymous donor of the pulpit,” said Laurette.
“If a pulpit is removed from a Listed church, it is preferable for the material to be reused elsewhere in the building and, if possible, where the Word of the Lord is proclaimed. Thus it was decided that the carved stone be used to provide a new Altar frontal and an Ambo.”
Nicholas Warns the Norwich architect has overseen the whole renovation project of the church.
Parish priest, Fr Christopher, said: “I am delighted the time capsule will go into the Ambo 100 years to the day since it was first placed under the pulpit. The construction of the Ambo with panels from the old pulpit marks the completion of the restoration of the church and more importantly provides a worthy and dignified place for the proclamation of the Scriptures, which is in harmony with the altar. The church is not only a place of worship for the Catholic community, but also a place of prayer and a haven of peace and tranquillity for all visitors to our seaside town.”
Pictured above is Southwold Parish Priest Fr Christopher Smith with the time capsule, taken in exactly the same place as the picture from 100 years ago and, below, the capsule in reburied under the new Ambo.