Since Philip joined us as Assistant Curate last July, many of us have been in receipt of his friendly, cheerful greeting (“Hello, I’m Philip!”) and the whole church has been blessed with his ministry as a deacon. The role of the deacon is to be a visible sign to the church of its calling to be a servant in the world. Philip has modelled that in many ways for us in the past year: he has got stuck in in many ways – being part of our Meadbank Team, helping lead an Alpha Course, joining in our Discipleship Conversations, supporting Asi in her work as Family and Children’s Minister, and in all the particular ways that being trained to be a priest in the church usually involves – leading worship and prayer, preaching, baptising, conducting funerals and visiting people at home or in the community. On top of all this new learning, Philip has brought to St Mary’s huge amounts of skills from his previous life in Management Consultancy and Business. He has project-managed our Mission Action Planning process with great skill and has now begun to turn his mind to assisting me with our plans to redevelop the Moorings. Anyone who has been at St Mary’s for any time will know that any help with that is an enormous gift!
So as we prepare to celebrate his ordination to the priesthood in July and his first presidency at the Eucharist, I thought I ought to place on record on behalf of us all our appreciation of Philip’s ministry in this first year of his time with us, and to assure him on behalf of us all of our prayers and support for the rest of his time among us (which, if you’re wondering, will be somewhere between another 2-3 years).
In appreciating Philip’s ministry, however, I would also like to place on record the enormous debt we continue to owe to Peter Wintgens for his continuing ministry at St Mary’s. Peter continues to minister in many ways – on Sundays of course, but also by visiting, offering pastoral care, running the Men’s Group, and in a number of other ways. In the coming months Peter will continue to operate as a part-time Chaplain at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital; indeed, owing to staff changes there, he will be doing more as a ‘bank’ chaplain for a while. Peter has been exceptionally gracious at ‘making room’ for Philip to train, which has meant naturally doing a little less of the things he most likes doing, and he has done so with his characteristic selflessness and understanding. He is a model of kindness and courtesy. We thank them both.
Philip will be ordained priest by the Bishop of Kingston at All Saints, Kingston on Saturday 4th July at 11am. Tickets are available if you sign up at the back of church. Philip will preside at the Eucharist for the first time at 11am on Sunday 5th July, a special service involving all the musical resources of the parish (organists, choir and First Sunday Band in different ways). The preacher will be Father Desmond Tillyer, former Vicar of St Peter’s, Eaton Square, SW1. There will be a social event afterwards. Everyone is warmly invited and encouraged to attend to give thanks for Philip’s new priestly ministry that day.