Cross-channel peal of bells to welcome Sittingbourne’s new Team Vicar
Hundreds of people celebrated the licensing of new Team Vicar of Sittingbourne with Bobbing, Revd Lesley Jones, at St. Michael’s Church on the evening of 16 October.
Revd Mike Resch, Area Dean and minister at Holy Trinity Church, Dover Street, welcomed everyone to the celebration and to a reception following the service. The Rt. Revd Trevor Willmott, the Bishop of Dover, conducted the ceremony, blessing the new ministry of priest and congregation and the town.
However the celebrations did not stop there. On Sunday 22 October, the bells at St. Michael’s were rung simultaneously with bells in the French town of Ypres, with which Sittingbourne is twinned. Lasting for three hours, the peal 'Suprise Major', was rung to mark the installation of a new set of bells into the church in Ypres; this specific peal had not been rung at St. Michael's for 49 years.
Commenting on the double celebration, Lesley said that it was wonderful that both towns were celebrating a new arrival: “As well as marking the special connection between the two towns, I hope the peal will also mark a new era at the church, which seeks to be a real presence and share God’s love for the people of Sittingbourne.
During the licensing service Bishop Trevor preached and encouraged the congregation in what would be a new chapter in the life of St. Michael’s church and for Sittingbourne too.
Formal greetings were received from guests during the evening including: the Mayor and Mayoress of Swale, Fr. Jim Teeling from Churches Together in Sittingbourne, Liza Thomspon- Service Director of Domestic Abuse charity SATEDA and NHS Chaplain Revd Pam Beckinsale. Age Uk, local schools and businesses were also represented.
Parishioners from churches in Murston, Bapchild, Tonge and Milton Regis were also present alongside Revd George Rogers as they said goodbye to Lesley and affirmed the ministry she had shared alongside them since September 2013.
The main service at St. Michael’s Church is every Sunday at 10am and all are welcome. For more information please call Revd Lesley on 01795 430975.
Notes for editors:
- Revd Lesley Jones
- Bishop Trevor chatting with guests at St. Michael’s Church on Monday Evening.