Why has a golden dome appeared in this Norfolk town?
- Credit: Daniel Hickey
A priest who once built the smallest church in the UK is now adding an exotic sight to the skyline of a town in the Broads.
The golden dome of St Fursey's, a church under construction on Yarmouth Road in Stalham, was glowing on Thursday morning (September 23) while builders continued to work on the interior.
The building, which was once the town's police station, is being converted and extended under the supervision of Fr Steven Weston.
The 73-year-old was an Anglican priest for 20 years but left in 1998 after becoming disillusioned with the church's ideals. He went on to set up his own parish, St Fursey's, based on Orthodox Christian teachings.
As the congregation grew from three people to just under 30 members, he built a tiny chapel, measuring 18 by 13 feet, in his back garden in 2012.
Four years later, the fledgling parish bought Stalham's former police station and work began on the church in June this year.
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Fr Weston said: "I can't quite get over it really. It's wonderful."
When he was a boy his parents were devout Anglicans and the family went to church every Sunday. "I used to imagine being an architect. I would build models of churches as a hobby," Fr Weston said.
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"I thought about being an architect when I got into my teens but I was also thinking about ordination."
In the end, he served the Church of England in Essex and later in Great Yarmouth.
In the early 1980s, however, the church he had attended during his boyhood was demolished.
"That was a very sad experience. At the back of my mind was the idea of replacing the church which was pulled down with this one."
Fulfilling his childhood dream, Fr Weston designed the new church with its golden dome, blue roof and white walls, basing the blueprint on a fourth century church excavated in Filchester.
The team bringing the church to life are Tony and TJ Day, builders from Caister, and carpenter Alan Brown.
Tony Day said it was the first time he had built a church. "Putting the dome up was a bit of a challenge," he added.
Fr Weston said he hopes to be celebrating services inside the new church by Christmas this year.