Three Days to Remember

--- Page the Third and Last---

This developing feature records the various events in the United Benefice and elsewhere
during the three days from Friday, June 23rd to Sunday, June 25th, 2012.

During that time a concert, a bumper farewell party (see below for the second instalment of this epic event!)
and a final Sunday service at St Mary's marked the imminent departure of our vicar,

Fr Neil Kelley, for pastures new, after thirteen years as incumbent at St Faith's and St Mary's.
The same days saw the ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood of Fr Ged Callacher,
our one-time organist and long-time friend and colleague: his ordination
and first Mass were attended by more than a few of the folk of both parishes.

The Final Farewells

Joan Tudhope writes about the party and the presentations

With a brightly festooned hall, beautifully laid out tables and the sight of a hog roast on a spit in place on the stage, all was set fair for a great evening. 
Party goers arrived bringing an array of drinks and the party commenced.  Once the hog roast was served - and good it was too,
accompanied by salads of various kind - and people had eaten and had second helpings, ten people, led by Churchwarden Maureen Madden, took to the stage.


Each held a letter which formed, when they were displayed in order, the words 'Our Father', referring to Fr. Neil.  
Maureen used each letter to begin a word describing the attributes, or otherwise, of Fr, Neil. 
They were: Outrageous; Unique; Ridiculous; Flattering;
Attractive; High Standards; Exasperating (after teasing him that it stood for Evangelical!).. and Remembered ... always!


A cheque was then presented to Fr. Neil, to which both congregations had contributed, to thank him for all he had contributed to our two churches during his
13 years as incumbent.  An eloquent response was made by Fr. Neil, following which the party people were invited to return to the food table to partake of dessert.


Various party turns, song and poetry, monologue and duets, were performed, and were enjoyed by all present. The finale of the evening
was a firework display in the vicarage garden, and despite the inclement weather all returned home having had a great time and given Fr. Neil a good send off.

Thanks again to Kathy Zimak and Lillie Wilmot for the pictures. They say the party isn't over until the fat lady sings, but in this case it was Fr Dennis...

And Finally...

Chris Price writes

The next morning, at 11.00 am in Saint Mary's Church, Fr Neil celebrated the Eucharist for the last time

A packed church
witnessed the dignified and prayerful ritual which Fr Neil has made his own,
punctuated by a powerful farewell sermon (see the link at the foot of this page for the text of this).
There was a trumpeter to sound the retreat, and presentations from the children of our churches.
at the end of the mass, in a moving and unique ceremony, before the altar,
the vicar removed his chasuble and vested Revd Denise McDougall, Honorary Assistant Curate,
who will chair the Ministry Team during the interregnum which was about to begin, with it.
Finally, accompanied by the Churchwardens of both churches, he walked slowly to the back of the church,
passed the church keys to them and left in silence through the doors. After this solemn ritual,
we were all glad of the traditional glass of 'bubbly' in the Church Hall and a chance to say a last
farewell at the end of thirteen eventful years in the life of our United Benefice
Kathy Zimak's pictures capture the mood of this very special occasion.