This is a significant time for me. Twenty five years ago I arrived at St Augustine’s as the new parish priest along with my, then, very young family, long hair, and earing! It was an important time in our lives; we had up to that point moved home and church every 4 years since beginning at Walworth, then Red Post Hill and latterly Greenwich, where I served as curate. This was to be my first job as vicar and we were hoping to find somewhere to settle for a while and for the children to have some roots.
Little did I know then that I would still be here twenty five years later. I remember coming to St Augustine’s to cover while I was curate at Greenwich and feeling immediately at home; not realising at that time that I would get the opportunity to serve here as parish priest. But I was installed as the vicar here on the 31st January 1994 by the then Bishop of Woolwich, Peter Hall, and felt immediately that I was where I was meant to be. I still feel the same way now. I can remember clearly that service and that moment, but I felt that I had truly arrived when I celebrated the Eucharist for the first time as parish priest two days later at the feast of Candlemas.
Candlemas has remained one of my favourite feasts since that day, so it is fitting that feast should mark my 25th anniversary. I hope you will be able to join us for that service.
I will, no doubt, say more on that day, but in this letter I simply want to say thank you for a very special 25 years. It has been a very special time for both me, Louise and the family. And we feel extremely blessed to be part of this church and community.