Georgie and I want to express our gratitude for the incredible way in which we have been welcomed into the Itchen Valley. We have experiences so many kindnesses from so many people!
This welcome was seen most clearly last Saturday in the Licensing Service in St Mary’s Easton. As both of us stood at the front of the Church and received greetings from different members of the church and the wider community, we felt so honoured and indeed touched to have been given this opportunity to occupy this role within your community.
I am so grateful to Deputy Lieutenant and the Bishop of Basingstoke for their presence and their kind words of support. Also, of course to all those-seen or unseen-who played a part in making the service itself and subsequent refreshments on in the churchyard so uplifting and memorable. You also enabled (through the wonders of the church’s technology!) a further 20 or more people to feel part of the event-‘zooming’ in from Hong Kong, from the UK and from the USA (the latter were especially pleased to hear the public reading of the Letters Patent from Her Majesty!).
Several of you kindly expressed your appreciation for the choice of music. As I explained in the Service Notes, there was a deliberate attempt while worshipping in an ancient church to enjoy the last thousand years of church history: from the opening three hymns (composed in the 9th, 13th and 15th centuries) through the evangelical revival under Wesley (hymn 4), and then into the 19th century and the 21st (hymns 5 and 6).
For me it was obviously a personal highlight to have the last song led by family and to sense how we were able, despite our natural musical preferences, to join together with one heart and voice in thanksgiving to God for the love of Jesus shown to us on the Cross: “O praise the Name of the Lord our God!”
So I hope you will enjoy delving further into the following resources:
- My Words of Introduction (explaining my sense vocation to the pastoral ministry)
- The full Order of Service
- The Full text of my Final remarks (much abbreviated on the day!)
From those Final Remarks, you will sense how much importance I attach to the vows and declarations that I made in the service. So I would much value your ongoing prayers that I will be kept faithful to those promises as I seek during the coming months and years to serve in your community as your Rector.
With best wishes and prayers, in Christ
This is the recording of the service.
We also hope you will enjoy these photographs from the day.
Click to open any of them fully