Clipping the Church at St Peter’s in Seaford

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AN ANCIENT Christian tradition was revived at St Peter’s Church in Seaford called clipping the church.

The custom may date back to Anglo Saxon times, as the word is derived from the Anglo Saxon clyp-pan, meaning embrace or clasp.

It is designed to show devotion to the church, although the tradition may have its origins in the pagan celebration of the spring equinox.

Members’ of St Peter’s Church in Belgrave Road, East Blatchington, formed a ring around the building on Mothering Sunday April 3.

Aileen Murray of St Peter’s Church said: “Clipping in this context means embracing or encircling and it was a way to express love for the mother church of a parish on Mothering Sunday or another suitable occasion such as a patronal festival, celebrating the patron saint.

“As our flower festival, from July 1-3, is to be based on the old customs associated with festivals and special days, we decided to re-enact the custom and to take photographs which could be used in our display.”

Children made a banner with We Love St Peter’s written on it, decorated with red hearts.

When participants were all in position, the bell rang and they all shouted ‘We love St Peter’s’ and gave a cheer.

Currently there are only a few churches in England that hold this ceremony.