Boats and other sea vessels were blessed at a service which celebrated the ‘special community’ of Lancing.
Around two hundred people turned out to take part in the annual Blessing the Boats service at St Michael and All Angels Church on Sunday afternoon.
The service, which has been held for more than 25 years, originally celebrated Lancing’s historic fishing community. Now, the service recognises the different leisure pursuits which involve the sea.
Churchwarden Ian Tout said: “We were blessed with good weather for another opportunity to give thanks for our location and to celebrate our special community.
“It was good to have such a range of craft and items to bless that symbolise the different ways that people in Lancing use the sea.”
Items blessed during the service included a kayak from Lancing’s Nautical Training Corps Training Ship (TS) Intrepid and the beach vehicle of the Worthing Beach and Foreshore Team.
Two kayaks from Richard Britten-Voss, fishing rods from Andrew Parkinson, an oar from Patrick Walpole and a boat from Ben and Chris Foster of Lancing Sailing Club were also blessed.
Each item was sprinkled with holy water and a short prayer said for the safety of its users.
The boat which is permanently moored on Lancing’s seafront and used as a flower display was also blessed.
As St Michael’s Church is currently without a Vicar, the service was conducted by Canon Michael Hart, honorary assistant priest at the church.
Lancing Brass accompanied the hymns and gave a short concert.
The Band from TS Intrepid also performed before the service.
The event was attended by councillor Peter Hancock, chair of Adur District Council, and councillor Mick Clark, vice chair of Lancing Parish Council, who gave a reading from the Gospel of Matthew.
Cream teas were then served in St Michael’s Church Hall in South Street.
Mr Tout said: “Blessing the Boats is now firmly established as one of Lancing’s traditions.
“It is valued by the sailing community and popular with residents and visitors.”
The origin of the Blessing of the Boats goes back to biblical days when many of the first followers of Jesus Christ were fishermen.