A NEW priest has been ordained in Shoreham, ending a journey that has taken 50 years.
The Rev Deacon Michael Grahame Blades is the assistant vicar at the Church of St Francis, which meets at Milward Court Day Centre, Wilmot Road, Shoreham.
He was ordained priest last Saturday in a service presided over by the Rt Rev Paul Hunt, Bishop of the Southern Diocese of the Free Church of England, otherwise known as the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Mr Blades said: “It has only taken 50 years for my call to the priesthood to reach this important and most fulfilling day of my life.”
The church received official approval and recognition as a constituent congregation of the Free Church of England in June 2013, when Mr Blades was confirmed as a lay reader.
The vicar, the Rev Gerald Kirsch welcomed 57 guests to the congregation, including 15 clergy, for the ordination service.
It has only taken 50 years for my call to the priesthood to reach this important and most fulfilling day of my lifeThe Rev Deacon Michael Grahame Blades, the Church of St Francis
He said: “Some notable visiting guests were the Rev Dr Keith Riglin, chaplain to Kings College London; the Rev Heather Leak-Date from Brighton and Hove Methodist Circuit; the Rev Peter Hills from the Tenterden Methodist Circuit; and the recent chairman of Shoreham Churches Together, the Rev Andrew Reed from the Worthing Methodist Circuit.
“Also visiting was the Rev Robert Léone and his wife Sarah, representing the Association Chrétienne des Anglicans (ACAF), the Free Church of England in France.
“The Church of St Francis is twinned with the Church of St Martin in Moussac-sur-Gartempe, Montrillion, France, where Robert is vicar.
“Following the service, afternoon tea was served in attractive cake boxes, picnic style.”
Mr Blades celebrated his first communion on Palm Sunday and Mr Kirsch preached.
Mr Kirsch said: “We were not able to do our procession owing to inclement weather. But we did assemble on the forecourt and blessed the Palm Crosses and entered church singing All Glory, Laud and Honor.
“In our Deanery prayer cycle, we remembered our church in Exmouth and, as every Sunday, Shoreham Churches Together. We pray one day SCT may be reconciled to us and us to them.”