Bristol Welcomes Richard Holroyd – 3 November 2010
If the size of the contingent who made their way from Maidenhead to Bristol was anything to go by, the congregation and community at St Paul’s, Clifton, and St Mary’s, Cotham would be left in no doubt that their new priest would be well worth the two and a half years of interregnum they would be leaving. I’m writing of this evening’s induction service, welcoming Richard Holroyd (former Priest-in-charge at St Luke’s, Maidenhead) to his new parishes in Bristol.
The grand organ piped up the first few bars of All My Hope on God is Founded, followed by the wonderful acoustic of St Paul’s wallowing in the sound of the choir and 200-strong congregation. The sermon was given by a familiar face to many of us: Lee Rayfield, former vicar at St Peter’s, Furze Platt. He’s now the Bishop of Swindon and he made a very good point:
“If anyone had spoken to Richard or me ten years ago, vicars of two humble neighbouring parishes in sunny Maidenhead, and told us that I would be his bishop and licensing him here in Bristol today, we certainly wouldn’t have believed them.”
– Lee Rayfield, 3 November 2010
The penultimate hymn was the wonderful Brother, Sister, Let Me Serve You, which has many touching and appropriate lines. I find myself belting out “When you laugh I’ll laugh with you; I will share my joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.” Despite really being about God, I let my mind wander to the moments of joy, sorrow, and laughter that we have all shared with Richard, and the years of similar moments that Bristol’s communities will also experience with their new priest. His unique brand of ‘service with a smile’ will be well-received by the community there, but dearly missed by us back home at St Luke’s.
As the procession made their way to the back of the church on the last hymn, I realised that this was it. It was truly the end of an era. Following refreshments which were of surplus-demand, we bid our last goodbyes. “C’mon, the coach is waiting,” someone said, and that was the cue to leave.
And so as one parish’s long interregnum finishes, another’s is just beginning. We wish Richard the very best of luck, and pray for him as he starts writing this new chapter of his autobiography.
Meanwhile, if you’d like a job as the vicar, write to us at: Call Me The Reverend, The Vicarage, Norfolk Road, Maidenhead, SL6 7AX.