The Sound of peeling bells let the people of Lydd know that Monday evening was a very special day for the churches of the Marsh , as a joint congregation welcomed the new Priest in Charge”.IMG_1775
A packed church (of 262 people- don’t know who counted!) witnessed the warm and welcoming service to see the beginning of Rev Chris’ ministry, as Priest in Charge to the Western Marsh Churches. Many of the visitors were from Chris’ old parish in Walmer, where he had served as a Curate.
Chris had entered ministry later in life, after a long period in the hospitality trade, including time as landlord of several pubs. He trained at SEITE (South East Institute for Theological Education) a part time training facility covering the Diocese of Canterbury, Rochester and Southwark.
The congregation included many local clergy, and supporters from the local Anglican community, wider community, and other churches.
A procession began the service, to the modern popular hymn, In Christ Alone. The formal processes of Presentation, Licensing by The Bishop of Dover Bishop Trevor Willmott with promises and oaths, by both priest and congregation, and Installation by the Archdeacon Rev Philip followed.
All interspersed with readings from the bible by many local people, and other inspiring hymns and songs. After the formal part, Chris and wife Melanie were welcomed by representatives of the churches in his care, the Mayor of Lydd, and other churches and organisations on the Marsh.
Amongst the congregation local Town, District and County councillors where represented along with representatives from Cubs, Scouts and the Guides
After the service, the parishioners of Lydd and other churches put on an amazing spread of a very tasty buffet in the church, which was enjoyed by all, as the church rang to the chatter of many friends enjoying each other’s company.
Many people ask what is a “Priest in Charge?” Most paid clergy are now appointed as “priests in charge” This is different to a “Vicar” or “Rector” as a contractual post, rather than a freehold post. With a rapidly changing situation in Church and Diocesan life, “priests in charge” offer the much needed flexibility.
By June Gooch and David Wimble