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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Parish faces 12-month wait for new rector

IT will be 12 months before the Parish of Whitehaven gets a replacement for its Rector, the Rev John Bannister.

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helping out: The Revs Chris and Margaret Goddard have been helping out at services in the interregnum

Mr Bannister gave his last service on March 9 and has now retired to the south of the county.

But under current Diocesan policy, the recruitment process for a replacement will not start until September.

In the meantime, the churchwardens, Dorothy Graham and Jane Nicholson, will have the care of the parish, supported by the Rev Stephen Griffiths, Rural Dean and vicar of Moresby, and the Ven Dr Richard Pratt, Archdeacon of West Cumbria.

There has been a meeting with the Parochial Church Council to discuss the matter, and assurances have been given that much will stay the same during the period of vacancy, known as an interregnum.

All regular services on Sundays and during the week will still be held. Stepping into the breach to help out at St James’ Church and St Nicholas’ Chapel will be the Rev John Kelly, who was curate to Mr Bannister for some years and was previously vicar of St Peter’s, Kells; and husband-and-wife clergy team, the Revs Chris and Margaret Goddard who retired from Cockermouth parish in 2010. Chris previously served his curacy in Whitehaven. Margaret hails from Ennerdale.

These three have previously helped out at Whitehaven when Mr Bannister has been on leave.

The churchwardens say there might however be some changes to the pattern of services, worship and other pastoral activities.

“Change can be hard but it also brings with it many opportunities,’’ they say. “As we welcome the visiting clergy we may hear messages in a new way, we may experience new styles of worship. And we all need to be appreciative of the support we are receiving.’’

John and Anne Bannister are settling into their new home near Milnthorpe and say they were overwhelmed by the generosity of word, gift and deed on their departure.

The Carlisle Diocese, faced with financial strictures and other challenges, is now looking at new ways of doing things.

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