The new priest for Slindon, Eartham and Madehurst is the Venerable Philip Jones, who retired as Archdeacon of Hastings last month after 11 years.
The Bishop of Chichester, The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, will preside at the service to license the new Priest in Charge at St Mary’s Slindon on Monday February 22 at 7.30pm.
Philip Jones was the personal recommendation of the Bishop and representatives of the three parishes who met him in October were unanimous in supporting his appointment.
Churchwarden Barbara Brimblecombe said: “We are hugely excited by the enthusiasm and experience Philip will bring to our worship and the broader pastoral care of our benefice.”
Philip decided that he wanted to return to being a parish priest in a location where both he and his wife, Anne, can become deeply involved in village life, both spiritual and secular.
“It was not difficult for us to convince Philip and Anne that there is no better place to achieve that objective than here in our three villages,“ said churchwarden Tony Richards.
Philip’s career as Archdeacon of Hastings has been via a curacy at St Mary’s, Horsham, as incumbent of Southwater and Rural Dean of Horsham.
He has a particular interest in, and concern for church schools and will be on the governing body of Slindon C of E Primary School.
He served as a governor in both church and community schools and, as a member of the Diocesan Board of Education, acquired wider experience of church school needs and opportunities for mission.
Before ordination he was a solicitor in private practice for 17 years, specialising in family and criminal law.
Among those at the licensing service will be The Archdeacon of Chichester, Douglas McKittrick, the Chair of West Sussex County Council Patricia Arculus, and the chairwoman of Slindon Parish Council, Ann Watts.
Barbara Brimblecombe said: “We are expecting more than 150 people with many clergy, colleagues, and friends of Philip, and of course our village residents excited to meet their new priest.
“Welcoming Philip is a ‘double delight’ for our Benefice as St Mary’s recently completed some much needed refurbishment, including the complete re-roofing of the church.”
In recognition of the former Archdeacon’s many qualities, it has been announced that Philip is to be Archdeacon Emeritus.
“This title has been awarded simply as a mark of the respect and deep gratitude we have for Philip.
“He and his family have all of our prayers as he moves to serve the people of Slindon, Eartham and Madehurst,” said Dr Warner.
The award means that he will retain the official title of “Archdeacon” and can use the term “Venerable”, which is the traditional form of written address for those serving as archdeacons.
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