News from the Diocese of Winchester
WHEN THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER presides over his first Churchwarden's service (visitation service) next year, the event will be made all the more memorable by being held in the diocesan mother church, Winchester Cathedral, rather than in a parish setting.
The 11 May event will mark the first of seven next year when churchwardens will be admitted at a service of visitation and recognised for the hard work they do.
A unique entity
Churchwardens are unique. Their authority comes from two sources. As well as being elected by the people of the parish, they are admitted to office by the Bishop. That means that each time they are elected they also have to be admitted at a service of Visitation, and between May and July each year the archdeacons are busy getting all wardens admitted at visitations around the Diocese.
The Archdeacon of Bournemouth, The Ven Peter Rouch said: "It’s a mammoth undertaking, a total of 510 wardens admitted this year, but with the support of diocesan staff and hosting parishes, and the wonderful work of Andrea Ford in Team Archdeacon, we managed to get across the finishing line!".
"This year’s visitations were a great success," continued the Archdeacon.
"Not a dusty legal event (although fully legal they most certainly were), but a heartfelt celebration of the ministry of churchwardens.
Visitations were organised in different locations around the Diocese, on different days of the week, and different times of the day to ensure that as many as possible could attend a service. There was no dour address about leaking roofs and faculty applications, but a recognition of what our churchwardens bring to the life of the parishes they serve.
All churchwardens who have cared for a parish and shouldered additional responsibility during an interregnum, a sabbatical or an unforeseen clergy absence stood to great applause from the rest of us gathered there. As they left, churchwardens, friends and colleagues who had come to support them, said that they had never before been to such a warm, uplifting and enjoyable visitation.
Visitation services in 2012 have been hosted at a number of locations, on different days and at different times to ensure as many people as possible could turn out in support of their new churchwardens.
This year’s wardens celebrated
At the services, the emphasis was on recognising the life churchwardens bring to the parishes they serve and those who had shouldered additional responsibility during an interregnum, a sabbatical or an unforeseen clergy absence stood to great applause from the audience gathered for the celebrations.
“I felt very welcome,” said Anna Burness, churchwarden of St Mary’s, Easton, following the service at Christ Church, Winchester.
“There was an impressive and appropriate sermon from the Archdeacon.” Her comments reflected those others who described the visitations as 'warm, uplifting and enjoyable'.