A Wonderful Family Gathering

Arthur Spikins has now seen 7 vicars licensed at St John’s. He gives his impressions of Tuesday night when David was licensed as vicar of St John’s and St Mary’s.

What a wonderful occasion! A bishop is often referred to as a “Father in God” so his presence set the tone for the Licensing of David. Our regular congregation, neighbouring clergy, and representatives of the whole community. In many ways, it seemed to me to be like a baptism or a wedding where all come together.

We began with formalities, declarations of intent, promises and the licensing. The bible readings set the tone of the occasion and provided the bishop with an opportunity to expand their meaning. The prayers allowed us to commit ourselves to God’s service after which he was welcomed by all parts of our community. Our wardens, the Tuesday Club, the pre-school, the Green Schools, the Friends of Faith, the Borough through the Deputy Mayor, the Deanery Synod and others I may have forgotten all made very positive contributions.

What a joy to hear full blooded singing of the well-chosen hymns as we moved into the Communion – a sharing of the church’s main meal. Then the reception in the Hall and a different sort of meal. A buffet to feed the proverbial five thousand greeted us and was shared by all of us. Now the time for chat – the meeting of old friends returning to their old church; mixing with friends of other churches and of other faiths and of none.

A long evening where every moment had its own significance. An evening which began a new chapter in the life of St John’s and St Mary’s. We pray that David and the family may be richly blessed and that they can rely on our support.

Arthur Spikins