Fr. Ed Tomlinson writes:
It was a wonderful weekend at St. Anselm’s parish. On Saturday morning we held a coffee morning and open day during which cakes were served and refreshments offered to all who came to see what our church has been up to in recent months. At the same time a working party spruced up the garden and Chris and Tom worked hard on the first phase of restoring our final pew. They did a magnificent job.
On the Sunday Bishop John Hine came to celebrate our patronal festival, which we often transfer as it tends to fall on or around Holy Week and the Easter holiday period. This Mass was offered with the special intention of our thanksgiving to God for his many blessings on our parish in recent years. After the Mass we went into the new hall to unveil a plaque. The hall was then named as the Hine Room, after Bishop John, the only bishop we know to have been raised in Pembury as a boy. Here he is informing us that the only other thing named after his family is a variety of Cognac!
After the unveiling of the plaque gifts were handed out to those who were especially involved in the building of the hall. We thanked Geoffrey Ravenhill for acting as the project manager. We thanked Peter and Michael our treasurers who were kept busy throughout the process. We thanked an absent Mike Blande for overseeing the transformation of the gardens and grounds. And we thanked Martin Green, our architect, pictured receiving his reward from Bishop John.
The other visiting priest was Father Hartley. He was the very first parish priest in Pembury who oversaw the building of the hall and had hoped to also build a church before he was moved to Paddock Wood instead. Aged in his 90’s he now lives in residential care with his two brothers, who are also priests. It was lovely to have him with us as a sign of our continuity with the past. He was surprised at how many parishioners remember him and was thrilled at the construction of the church. Prayers are sometimes answered after many years, he reflected.
Finally a thank you to Joanna Bogle who travelled all the way from London to be with us. She had with her two more beautiful hassocks for our parish which were put in pride of place in our chapel at evensong. A great champion of the Ordinariate she also remarked on the good work that has been done. A big thank you to all those who baked and cooked and supported us in whatever way. It was a very happy and unifying weekend for all involved.