There's an old guy carrying a book coming towards the church as Colin Firth leaves - you never see him and Firth in the same shot, although the way it's edited, at first it looks like they're staring at each other.
In one of the last shots you see the book that the old fella's carrying and it's the one Tom had earlier: in other words this is him as a very old man revisiting the church after an absence of many years. The scene of Kathy Ellerbeck coming in and setting a basket down (I think this is what she does) is all in his memory (hence the slight reverb on her voice, which makes it seem a bit otherworldly). It might even be the footage from the first time she appears: I'm not sure.
My memory is that the last thing you see is a huge smile on the old man's face as he looks at the altarpiece. Despite all his struggles with the Rev. Keach, and not getting it together with Alice, years later his memories are only happy ones.
Oh my! Thank you for this. I just watched the film - pulled it off the shelf at a house I am visiting and had an afternoon to myself. I was puzzling about the end and came on IMDb to see if I could get some insights - and here you are with this. I didn't get that at all - but, of course, that is exactly it. Makes all kind of sense when you see it that way - that it's him. Thank you!
The very end has the older man walking into a light and I thought that the man was passing on - I couldn't figure out where all this was coming from - but if the old man is him, it all clicks into place.
"THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.." :-)