The Church of The Divine Motherhood and S. Francis of Assisi was designed by the architect Guy Morgan. Although it was built before the Second Vatican Council, and so was designed for the celebration of Mass in the ‘Old Rite’, it incorporates many of the features of the Liturgical Movement that would be taken up and developed in the years after the Council. The sanctuary is large and spacious, to allow liturgical actions to be expansive and prominent; although there are many details in the building, the sanctuary is stark and uncluttered so that nothing detracts from the prominent altar, which dominates the building from its elevated position, and the tabernacle.
Although on first entering the building your attention is grabbed, quite rightly, by the sanctuary, when you stop to look around you see that all around the building are side altars, shrines to saints. As the community gathers to celebrate mass it is, literally, surrounded by the saints who gather to join in the same worship. There are altars to St Francis, to St Patrick, to Blessed Margaret Pole, and a Chapel of The Passion. This is not just a building where the community gathers for mass, it is also a place for individuals to come and pray.
We are fortunate that when this church was built there was a determination that its furnishings and its decoration should not be taken from catalogues, but would be works of art in their own right. Above the entrance door is a huge relief of The Virgin and Child by Richard Guyatt, who was Professor of Graphic Arts at The Royal College of Art. The crucifix behind the altar is by the Sussex sculptor Michael Clark. The Stations of the Cross, the pieta and the Stained Glass in the Baptistry are all beautiful things.