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…