A RECTOR who has retired after 28 years in his Tarring parish has described a farewell service to him as ‘overwhelming’.
Father Edward Jervis, of West Tarring Parish Church of St Andrew, in Church Road, bade a fond farewell to parishioners on Sunday.
Some 400 people turned out for his final service, with the church decorated with flowers as a final surprise to him.
Father Jervis, 66, said: “It went extremely well and the occasion was overwhelming.
“Over 400 people turned up. It was incredible and the atmosphere was amazing .
“The church had also been decorated with flowers without me knowing. I came in and it was like a flower festival.”
Father Jervis originally worked as a chartered surveyor before training as a priest in Lincoln.
He spent three years in West Bromwich and six years in Horsham, before moving to West Tarring, where he remained for 28 years.
He said: “My father was a priest and he was my inspiration. But I didn’t necessarily want to follow him without trying other avenues.
“I was a chartered surveyor but then I thought I ought to pursue a role in the ministry.
“I offered myself and I was accepted, and that was 40 years ago now.”
Father Jervis now looks forward to his retirement, and is planning to move to Rustington.
He said: “I am not a person who likes to be inactive, so I will fill my days with something which I find keeps me occupied.”
But Father Jervis said he will miss his role in the community.
He added: “It has been a joy to be here and I have been so happy in my work. I have loved it. I shall miss the church community.”
In the latest parish newsletter, churchwarden John Hubbard paid tribute to Father Jervis’ reign as a ‘remarkable achievement’.
He said: “We are not only grateful for his ministry but also for the unstinting support of his wife, Janet, whose ready smile and unassuming manner have endeared us all.”