What a fantastic welcome Lynda and I received last weekend. With a Church full on Friday and almost full on Sunday; with wine and nibbles on Friday and cake and barbecue on Sunday; with splendid singing on Friday and a new band playing on Sunday, it has all been rather over-whelming, but thank you - thanks to all who helped prepare for the weekend or worked hard over the weekend to make it such a great occasion for us, and I hope for the whole St. George's family. We certainly feel part of the Church and look forward to working and worshipping with you over the next few years.
Special thanks must be given to the Churchwardens, Officers and PCC members who have maintained the social and spiritual life of this parish during the interregnum, and thanks also to the large number of clergy who have led the worship here since Fr. Malcolm's retirement. Sometimes a local Church can become divided, or fall apart altogether when its Parish Priest leaves. That is certainly not the case with St. George's, and it is a real pleasure and privilege to come and minister among such a vibrant and warm group of people.
One of the points made at the Collation service - verbally by the Bishop and visually by the outdoor procession - is that a Parish Priest is not just inducted for the Church congregation but for the whole parish. Here I have been made Vicar of Waterlooville, not just of St. Georges Church, and that's a very important part of the traditional service. With that in mind I hope on some days my base of work will be the Church rather than The Vicarage. This means that the Church door can be open, that passers-by will be able to call in and that I will be at the heart of the town, working alongside local businesses and local shoppers. Funerals and pastoral commitments allowing, I will be in the new office in the Sacristy on Monday and Wednesday mornings. If youre passing, please drop in and introduce yourself to me.
PARISH PRIEST (20 July 2004)
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