Charles Billington

Sixth Vicar of Saint Faith`s

Many happy returns!
Charles Billington took over the living on 16 July 1966 and set about radical changes which brought the church into a new era. As with the early years many people did not like the changes and some actually left. One of the first to go was the long-serving organist and choir master, Mr Ernest Pratt, who objected to the new hymn tunes and proposed new styles of service. The Sunday School at 3.00 pm ceased and began to operate in parallel with the morning Sung Eucharist with Sunday School members joining the main church after the sermon. There was a move towards a more ecumenical approach with local churches of all denominations, incense was used at the Easter Midnight service in 1967 and in 1968 Fr. John Kennedy from St Edmund`s Roman Catholic Church was invited to preach. There were many other changes including the use of microphones but the most controversial was the introduction of a nave altar. Many people were upset by the changes but they have proved popular over the years thus justifying Fr. Charles` far-sighted innovations. In 1972 he resigned the living to take up duties in two parishes in Bedfordshire; his reason for leaving was the need for his young son to move to a better climate than could be offered in Liverpool. In his few years at St. Faith`s Fr. Charles brought about many changes which now seem reasonable but at the time they were controversial. The church owes much to this brave and honest man who was described as controversial, vulnerable, stubborn and lovable.

 During his years at St Faith`s, and in his subsequent ministry elsewhere, Fr Charles was strongly supported by his wife and their two children Chad and Tara. Both children were born whilst Fr Charles was at St Faith`s and both were baptised at the church.

Since leaving St Faith's. Fr Charles has kept up contacts with the parish. On September 22nd, he was invited to celebrate the golden anniversary of his priesthood here. Click here for the story of this very special occasion, with links to his connections with St Faith's Men's Group.

 Hear the voice of Charles Billington.

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