The Parochial Church Council are delighted to welcome Reverend Dr Peter to officiate at St Saviour, following an unusually short interregnum. This is due in no small part to Archdeacon Stephen Taylor (Archdeacon of Maidstone and acting Archdeacon of Canterbury) who suggested that Reverend Peter may be an ideal successor to continue the work of the Parish. The occasion was also an opportunity to welcome Reverend Peter’s wife, Elizabeth, to the Church family of St Saviour’s Church.
The opening procession led by the choir of All Saints Church, Birchington, followed by many Clergy and Readers robed for the occasion, with the Area Dean, the Reverend Andrew Jacobsen, the acting Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Stephen Taylor and the Bishop of Canterbury and Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott completing the procession, during which the hymn “Longing for Light, we wait in darkness” was a reminder of Reverend Peter’s role within the Iona Community. After a brief ceremony of welcome, Bishop Trevor addressed the congregation with good humour, emphasising his pleasure at appointing Peter and confidence that his experience and faithfulness would serve St Saviour’s well in their desire to continue providing a place of worship within and for the Community. There followed the second hymn “Lord for the years…” before the act of Licensing was conducted by Bishop Trevor. This was followed by the act of Installation by Archdeacon Stephen during which time representatives from United Reform Church, St Saviour Church of England Junior School and community groups formally welcomed Reverend Peter to St Saviour. It was good to hear Peter respond to those greeting him with a mix of sincerity and good humour. The service continued with the next hymn “Christ triumphant, ever reigning” during which Archdeacon Stephen led Reverend Peter to the font to receive waters of baptism, the lectern to receive a Holy Bible, the chancel to receive a vessel of olive oil, and finally the Altar where bread and wine were presented. Prayers were then said by Reverend Peter before the final hymn “Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom”.
All in all a memorable service showing St Saviour’s Church at it’s best. Not forgetting the wine and buffet refreshments available afterwards! And if you wonder why the word Fāilte was suspended across the west doors of the church, this was to recognise Reverend Peter’s Associate membership with the Iona Community by using the Gaelic word for ‘Welcome’!
Many thanks to everyone who contributed towards the success of the occasion.