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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Festival 2017 issue

A Priest makes a difference in his community

This article by Martin Lloyd has been published on the Scolastic News Kids Press Corps website…


Martin interviews “Father Mike” about his retirement.

Meet the Reverend Canon Mike Sheffield. He is the parish priest at St. George’s Church in Waterlooville, a town in Hampshire, England. Since 2004, “Father Mike” has served the church in Waterlooville. At the end of June, he will retire.

Father Mike’s retirement will be a sad time for the community. Under Church of England rules, he will not be permitted to return to St. George’s. I asked Anne Morgan, Churchwarden at St. George’s, what the beloved priest’s retirement will mean for the community. “There will not be his cheery face, his walking around [greeting] everybody, chatting with people he doesn’t know and those in the church community,” she said. “As members of St. George’s, everyone needs to continue his role.”

Martin talks with Churchwarden Anne Morgan.


I also asked Mrs. Morgan how having a treasured parish priest benefits the community. “It makes a big difference,” she said. “Waterlooville is such a close-knit town, and St. George’s Church is right in the center. People come in off the streets and say hello. Father Mike is the figurehead of our community, but Waterlooville is more than able to carry on his work in his absence.”

What does Father Mike say about his many responsibilities? “It’s like I have two hats on,” he said. “One is a vicar [a religious representative in the community]. I visit schools, marry couples, and baptize children. The other hat is of a priest. It’s a very different role. I care for people and conduct the more formal services such as Holy Communion.”

Father Mike is looking forward to retirement. Still, he will miss the St. George's community. “It’s the people that I’m going to miss,” he said, “things like the Waterlooville Music Festival and Christmas and Easter.”

Father Mike, in turn, is sure to be missed by a cohesive community that he loves and that loves him. But the community will do their best to continue his mission and make him proud.

Martin Lloyd