The Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, led a special service at Eastry Church on Thursday 18 April to install the Reverend David Ridley as the first Rector of the new Benefice of Eastry and Woodnesborough.
David Ridley, who was a science and maths teacher before ordination, spent the last twelve years as the Vicar of St Mary’s Dover and Priest-in-Charge of St Martin of Tours, Guston. Described by Bishop Trevor as ‘a wise and Godly teacher, with the pastoral ability of binding broken hearts’, Mr Ridley also served as Area Dean of Dover Deanery for several years.
The service at St Mary’s Eastry was packed with members of the congregations from the five churches in the new benefice (Eastry, Northbourne, Tilmanstone, Woodnesborough and Staple). They were joined by well-wishers from St Mary’s Dover.
The service included the Archdeacon of Ashford, the Venerable Philip Down, symbolically presenting Mr Ridley to Bishop Trevor for installation.
During the service, churchwardens, a Reader, church officers and those involved in youth work from the parishes, along with representatives from the deanery, district council, local schools and Churches Together, each played a role in the service, formally welcoming David to his new role.
In his sermon, Bishop Trevor spoke of the need for the whole church community to share in the ministry of the new benefice. Referring to the reading from Ephesians 1 3-10, the Bishop described the sense of incredulity at being chosen by God to grow the church. “This service is about all of us,’ the Bishop said, ‘It is about our willingness to be led by Christ, to let Christ form in us, so that we may help others to believe.”
Speaking at the end of the service, David Ridley said: “I am delighted to be here and I offer my grateful thanks for this service, for the welcome I have received from everyone in the benefice and for the support and encouragement offered by members of St Mary’s Dover.”Ends
Further info from: Emily Shepherd Director of Communications: 07876 210 446
Photos show the Reverend David Ridley with the Right Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover