Collation of new Archdeacon


Rarely – except perhaps on Remembrance Sunday – is St Mary’s as full as it was on last Sunday evening September 18 for a service that usually takes place in a cathedral. The occasion was the Collation of The Revd Dr Edward Dowler as Archdeacon of Hastings by the Bishop of Chichester, The Right Revd Dr Martin Warner.

With the service due to commence at 5pm, worshippers began pouring in soon after 3pm so that they  could ensure they had a good seat – or indeed any seat at all!

The rare occurrence of this service in a parish church came about because Rye Arts Festival had invited the choir of Chichester Cathedral to sing Choral Evensong in St Mary’s at the start of this year’s festival. When it became evident that September 18 was the date most convenient to the major participants, it was decided to move the service to Rye where the cathedral choir would be.

Choral Evensong is a largely spectator event with the worshippers expected to sing the hymns only and on this occasion there were just two. The remainder of the service was sung -beautifully- by the choir.

Present at the service were: The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field and Mrs Field; The High Sheriff of East Sussex, Michael Foster and Mrs Foster; the Bishops of Lewes and Horsham; Archdeacons of Horsham and Brighton; various clergy from around the Archdeaconry including our own Rector, Revd Canon David Frost and a group of parishioners from the new Archdeacon’s previous parish in Enfield.

Sylvester, St Mary’s church cat was also in attendance and helped out by escorting the Lord Lieutenant to his seat and checked that the new Archdeacon was sitting comfortably before the service began!

A video of the Collation can be found on the St Mary’s Facebook page as well as more photographs.

Photo: Rye Camera Club

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