Father Ed's Blog

A Catholic priest reflects…

Pembury Minster!

Yesterday evening we welcomed our Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton, to the parish alongside friends from Maidstone and Sevenoaks, to chair a special evening in which we laid out an exciting new vision to strengthen the bonds between our local groups and, hopefully, breath new life into the Ordinariate in the Sevenoaks area, which never got off the ground due to disinterest from its original pastor who has since been incardinated into the local diocese.

The evening began with Low Mass according to Divine Worship before we moved into the hall for refreshment. I am grateful to Janet and Trudy who worked hard in the kitchen. This time of fellowship was precious as it allowed people to meet together informally and get to know one another better. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly.

Monsignor Keith then gave the official welcome before I delivered the main address cementing the vision of the Ordinariate. I will post it tomorrow, it is entitled ‘What is the point of the Ordinariate?’ After this Fr. Nicholas spoke about the ancient Minster model of parish ministry. Which is the model we are going to adopt for groups in the West Kent Area.

In Pre-reformation England, larger parishes sometimes became Minsters; centres of excellence offering administrative and pastoral care to smaller outlying communities. This enabled local clergy to work in collaboration. Fr. Nicholas informed us that the original Minster was in Kent at…wait for it…Minster!

We then unveiled plans to make Pembury a sort of Minster to the outlying smaller groups in Maidstone and Sevenoaks. Under the patronage of St. Augustine of Canterbury this new ‘West Kent Ordinariate Mission’ should prove advantageous for all three groups. It is anticipated that clergy from St. Anselm’s will regularly visit Maidstone and Sevenoaks to celebrate Mass and encourage the people and clergy there. In return the smaller groups will be invited, from time to time, to share in the festivals at Pembury.

Deacon Robert Smith, the new pastor of the re-imagined Sevenoaks Group, then shared the very best news of the night. The new Catholic priest at Sevenoaks, Fr. David Gibbons, has kindly offered to host the group at his church and desires to welcome them fully with open arms. He is an ex-Anglican after all! This was  uplifting news and will enable the now small Sevenoaks group to benefit from the support of the wider parish there. The anticipation being that the group will meet fortnightly on a Thursday evening.

The first Sevenoaks gathering will take place on May 11th and I urge any and all who support the Ordinariate to come along at 7:30pm to support this inaugural event. We will try to ensure it provides reverent, dignified worship and an opportunity for enjoyment afterwards. If you cannot make it then please pray for us. We need prayers as we seek to be faithful to vision enshrined in the document Anglicanorum Coetibus. Why? Read tomorrows posting…


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Mgr. Newton to host important meeting


Why the Ordinariate?


  1. Julie

    Exciting times for the Ordinariate. I will continue to keep the who!E of the Ordninariate inmy prayers.

  2. MV

    Equum defunctum flagellatis.

  3. Patrick Fahey

    Great work Fr Ed. I did though look at your picture in the pub with the tempting beer sitting on the table. For myself just over two weeks in of Lenten observance and no beer! On top of that my wife took me to our local yesterday and I had to not only abstain but watch others having one of thee 6 real ales on offer.

    Keep up the good work and I’ll drink to your success in due course!

    God Bless,


  4. Bill

    I think the dead horse comment is pretty ungenerous MV; as I’ve said before on this blog the main thing is to ensure that the lay people are looked after and that there aren’t too many further ‘re-boots’. Just focus on that as opposed to the new clergy job titles, new patronages, etc etc and all will be well.

    The handbag in the first paragraph did make be chuckle though Father! And the very Freudian slip where you said ‘disinterest’ when (presumably!) you meant he showed a lack of interest rather than that there wasn’t enough money in the Ordinariate…..

    Hope it goes well for the lay people


    • Admin

      Oh lack of money is very much part of Ordinariate life!! Somehow God sustains us…and it wasn’t a handbag so much as a statement of fact. I think it important that people realise why something needs a reboot lest they draw wrongful conclusions.

  5. Bill

    Good luck with it.

    One question though: given the vast majority of lay Sevenoaks Ord people (including their new leader) attend mass at St John the Baptist Westerham, wouldn’t it make sense to do your other meetings there? Seems odd to split the venues; a bit unnecessary (possibly). Are all 7oaks Ords coming into your new arrangement or are they sticking with Fr Aquilina at Westerham going forwards as Diocesan people effectively?


    • Admin

      The group split early on and between Westerham and Sevenoaks. The priest at Sevenoaks is welcoming us with open arms and this makes it the ideal venue for a gathering. Being midweek it doesnt affect where people meet on Sunday for convenience.

  6. Bill

    Thanks – understood. So this won’t give them Ordinariate style Sunday Mass then?


  7. Bill

    That’s the second time I’ve had a good chuckle today reading this blog.

    I don’t know why you are always so eager to jump to Fr Ed’s defence Mary – he’s big and bright enough to defend himself. Think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick on throw one for sure….! Please don’t take that the wrong way, you make some great contributions to the debate.


    • Admin

      I imagine Mary wonders, conversely, why others always jump to attack….

      • Mary B

        Actually Bill and Fr Ed, it was neither of those. I didn’t understand why the comment about ministry to the disabled was being made at all. This is something that is very close to my heart as my husband is extremely badly disabled and accessibility etc is something we have to think about every day. Hiwever I don’t think that ministry to the disabled should be something which should be the predominant part of every priest’s ministry. Clearly some are better at it than others and indeed some clergy have more reason to have to minister in this sphere than others. I was just a bit baffled that’s all!

  8. Bill

    I think you may well be right there Father! But you should let Mary respond rather than assuming 100 per cent that she’ll agree with your assumption.

    I would put it closer to 99.9 per cent…

    Have a great week everyone



  9. Bill

    Thanks Mary – I’ll leave it to those who were using clever Latin and created ambiguity in meaning to explain…..

    All the best


  10. Mary B

    I should add that, when I made my original comment, I hadn’t been able fully to read the thread so didn’t notice Fr. Ed’s Latin riposte to the flogging the dead horse jibe. That said the ministry to the disabled comment is a bit of a non sequitur even read against that background; or maybe it’s my sense of humour.
    Noli nothis permittere te terere.

    • Admin

      My poor Latin is to blame. I was replying to the dead horse insult and it was meant to read ‘life is too short to dance with ugly men’

      • MV

        You prefer to dance with the better-looking chaps, of course.

        • Doodler

          My understanding of the Gospel Imperative is that we should seek out the “deformed men” in order to dance with them.

          • Admin

            Yes of course. But there are also those whose hearts and minds are closed and, Jesus told us, these should be left and the dust banged from our boots.

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