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We celebrated Saint Margaret’s Patronal Service at 11.15 on 20th July. This year is the 147th anniversary of our church’s foundation. As the patronal is a combined service with our friends at Saint Laurence, Seal Chart, we decided that it would also be an appropriate occasion to celebrate 20 years of women in the priesthood of the Church of England. Carol Kitchener, our Vicar, was one of the very first to be ordained and so, entirely unknown to her, we decided to make it a party to celebrate her personal ministry and the many blessings we have experienced from having her as our priest.
There were lots of special things. An augmented choir sang the anthem Cantate Domino. The church was filled with flowers arranged in a delightful, simple country style which we know Carol prefers. There was a bouquet of yellow roses and a large card filled with signatures from both parishes. The design of the card was based on a Sunday Times photograph of Carol and other women priests with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the national thanksgiving. There were other cards from those who could not be present, and a delightful card from Saint Lawrence’s School with a drawing of a woman bishop! Both our parishes had contributed to a lavish buffet in the churchyard, and the weather (after an unsettled period earlier in the weekend) was kind.
The highlight was a marvellous cake, with icing based on Carol’s ordination stole.
Lots of people helped to make this a very, very happy day but special thanks must go to Jill Scott who did so much behind the scenes and in particular arranged for the cake.
Carol sent me the following message for all of us.
“I would like to say a big thank you for yesterday morning. It came as a total surprise and I was overwhelmed by the things that you said – I really thought that I must have been retired and was about to leave.”