It is wonderful that we are now at the point of welcoming Joel as the new Vicar of St Wilfrid’s. He and his family moved into the Vicarage shortly before Christmas, and have been getting to know their new home and schools over recent weeks. Thank you for making them welcome, and for giving them the space they need to begin their new life among you all.
Thank you, too, for your faithfulness during the vacancy following Fr Andrew’s retirement. I am well aware that this has gone on for longer than hoped for, but you have remained hopeful, generous and confident as we have discerned the Lord’s call on this church and community as we move into a new chapter of life here. It would be remiss of me not to pay public tribute to the clergy who have served you so diligently, and to the Wardens, the PCC and all who have sustained the life of the Church in this Parish.
As we look forward to the Induction service on 16th January
I wanted to take this opportunity to outline what the shape of the first phase
of this new Apostolic Partnership with St Peter’s, Brighton, is going to look
Joel is going to be your new Vicar from 16th January, but for the first nine months he will need to spend a significant amount of time fostering, building and nurturing the team who will join you all here in September when the Apostolic Partnership comes into full being. This investment of time is for the long term benefit and fruitfulness of the Partnership as he needs to build the team, establish relationships and do the necessary groundwork that will ensure all is in place. In practical terms, this means that for the time between his Induction and September, whilst being your Vicar, he will be at St Wilfrid’s for at least one Sunday a month. Of course, he is already living here, so he and his family will be very much present in and around Bognor, and there will be plenty of opportunity during the week for him to build his relationships and pattern of life in Bognor too. It will not feel like the start of a typical new Incumbency as Joel spends this time preparing for the launch of the Apostolic Partnership in September, but this is a time of innovation, anticipation and preparation.
An Apostolic Partnership is an exciting initiative that does mean mutual enrichment, exchange and development as we look to expand the life and ministry of the Church in this Parish. Please continue to pray for one another, for Joel and his family, and for those from St Peter’s whom the Lord is calling to join you at St Wilfrid’s. I look forward to being with you all on 16th January for the Induction and to continuing to support you all as this initiative takes shape and comes into being!
Venerable Luke Irvine-Capel
Archdeacon of Chichester