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With Commissioning of the Diocesan President and the Board of Trustees.
Held Saturday 23rd March 2019 at 2.30pm in Chichester Cathedral.
Fortunately, it was a dry day. Andy and I had a straightforward journey to Chichester with the 100 year old Comper Diocesan Banner laid out in the back of the car. We arrived at St Paul’s Church for a ploughman’s lunch. Chris Emson had provided a delicious spread and had Kathy and Janet from Rye to help her serve. Heather and Janet from St Paul’s were also helping and had arranged the glasses and non-alcoholic drinks on arrival. Revd Helen Rose said ‘Grace’ for our 32 guests. These included Trustees, Mary, Margaret and Chris, former Diocesan Presidents, Martin and Nikki from FSW, Fiona and Ruth from the Children’s Society, Judy from Union of Catholic Mothers, Comfort, Diocesan President from Southwark Diocese, and our Vicar Robert and his wife Marian from All Saints’ Church in Eastbourne.
Andy and I left for the Cathedral at 1.15pm because I had to rehearse my reading and take the banner to Trish, the outgoing Vice-President, who was carrying it on behalf of us all. The choir of 16 members from Midhurst, Worthing, Hellingly and Old Town Eastbourne had just finished their rehearsal with Tim, the organist.
At the West Door the Dean welcomed Susan Piper, Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, and Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex with his wife Margaret, and Sara Stonor, Vice-Lieutenant. He escorted them to their front row seats on the right of the Nave just before the service began. The Trustees and invited guests were sitting in the first few front rows of the Nave and the choir were in the Quire.
The Order of Service was originally from the Mary Sumner website and typed up by Revd David Frost, our outgoing Diocesan Chaplain. Back in November 2018 I had had a meeting with the Liturgy and Music Administrator, Richard Paterson, and the Precentor to discuss the service and amend the Liturgy for the service being held in Lent and I chose the hymns. The processional hymn was, ‘I, the Lord of sea and sky’, during which all the wonderful Branch banners were carried down the aisle. The Diocesan Banner was at the rear and Trish handed it to the Dean who gave it to Howard, the Head Verger to put in a stand. ‘Brother, Sister let me serve you’ was after the first reading taken from, 2 Thessalonians 1 v 3, 11 – 12, which I read from the pulpit. Then, ‘Take my life and let it be’ followed the Gospel Reading from Mark 6 v 34 – 43, which was read by Helen our new Diocesan Chaplain. Bishop Martin’s sermon and the Commissioning followed. The Trustees and I were called forward together to stand in front of the Bishop and then the intercessions were led by Maria, Emma, Christine and Scilla. The service moved into the Eucharist and five of our members were chalice assistants. During communion the choir sang beautifully, ‘Be still, for the presence of the Lord’, ‘Abide with me’, which was Mary Sumner’s favourite hymn and ‘O let the Son of God enfold you’. The final hymn after the dismissal was, ‘Lord for the years your love has kept and guided’. During ‘The Peace’ Sara had asked me to accompany her up the aisle so in the last hymn I walked with her behind the Dean and the Lord Lieutenants. When we reached the west door there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere and Bishop Martin suggested we all join the banner bearers outside for photos.
What a wonderful service (I do have some spare copies of the Order of Service, please ask for one) and I was so grateful for us all to be surrounded in prayer and good wishes. We had the most amazing piece of good news before the service as the Dean told me that the Diocesan Banner could stay at the Cathedral now and be housed in the Lady Chapel! Do go and see it when you are next in Chichester.
The prayer requests put in the basket before the service were taken up to the communion table with the collection. Victoria has kindly typed them up and sent them to Patricia for the prayer chain. I would like to give special thanks to Victoria, an outgoing Trustee, who masterminded all the invitations and tickets and worked tirelessly behind the scenes.
Written by Kathryn Anderson
Sourced from the Chichester link