“One Church at worship: three buildings for worship”
The 'Valley Parish' of East Dean, Singleton, & West Dean is in the upper Lavant valley, 6 miles north of Chichester. The parish was created on 1st December 2005, by the merger of the three ancient parishes, which had shared incumbents for 40 years. Rev Sarah Manouch is the Incumbent.
The 3 ancient parish churches work closely together to promote the gospel, and encourage today's church at worship, while being the village church for their different communities.
Worship styles vary from contemporary to traditional; Common Worship for the Parish Eucharist.
The Parish Eucharist is celebrated at 10am in each church in turn (at Singleton on the second Sunday each month), together with All Stars Sunday School on the 3rd Sunday at West Dean. The 4th Sunday Service is All-Age Worship, with young people helping to lead music, prayers, and worship.
Blessed Virgin Mary Singleton was a Saxon foundation, possibly a small ‘minster’ (a base for several priests who would minister to the surrounding area). Despite Victorian restoration and extensions it remains a small, simple church building, built in stone and flint, in its village setting in the South Downs. The churchyard is remains in use, and provides a peaceful spot to appreciate the surrounding downland.
The parish War Memorial for the 1st and 2nd World Wars is in the churchyard, originally placed so that it could be seen across the fields from the hamlet of Charlton. The church contains the Roll of Honour of those who served in the 1st World War, indicating those wounded and killed, and decorated with flags of the Allied Powers (Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Japan).
There is also an interesting large memorial to a huntsman, hunt servant to the Charlton Hunt, erected by the hunt’s noble patron; together with other interesting and pathetic individual memorials. Past residents of the parish also left their own memorials in the form graffiti carved into doorways and pillars, including several repetitions of the schoolmaster’s name on the chancel arch!