New vicar welcomed by two Norwich churches
Parishioners from St Luke and St Augustine churches in New Catton, Norwich, gave a warm welcome to their new vicar, Rev David Austin, on Saturday (June 27) when he was instituted by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, and inducted by the Archdeacon of Norwich, the Ven Jan McFarlane. Tim Lenton reports.
The service took place at a packed St Luke’s Church Centre on a warm summer’s afternoon and was attended by a strong contingent from David’s former parish of Addingham in West Yorkshire, and by members of his family. In his address the Bishop congratulated David on coming to a Premiership diocese.
The service was organised locally by churchwardens Howard Green and Elaine Noakes; the latter was represented in her absence by the Rev John Easton, a member of St Luke’s congregation. Refreshments, including cakes described by one visitor as “outstanding”, were provided by St Luke’s afterwards.
St Luke’s and St Augustine’s have been without a vicar since the departure of the Rev Nicholas Vesey to Aspen, Colorado, last autumn. The two churches are about five minutes’ walk apart but maintain distinctive styles of worship, though joint events happen occasionally. St Luke’s also hosts an “alternative” Christ Consciousness congregation, which meets on Sunday evenings.
Also assisting at the service on Saturday were the Dean of Norwich, the Rt Rev Jane Hedges, and the rural dean, the Rev Paul Mackay. One of the special guests was Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North.
David said afterwards: "I have had no previous experience of Norwich before I arrived here on June 3 – but already I feel I am 'at home' and no longer a stranger. I love the sense of community, history and vitality that I see as I walk around the city and local community.
“I can tell people have many commitments and interests – which is a good sign in terms of networking and mission, being outwardly focused.”
He added: “I am looking forward to getting to know you and to be of service to you. Please pray for me as I pray for you."
During the service representatives of all three congregations presented David with symbols of his ministry: Charlotte Snell (St Luke’s), gave him a Bible; Tony Barton (St Luke’s) a Book of Common Prayer; Phil Kerrison (St Augustine’s), baptismal water; Dot Lenton (St Augustine’s) a jug of oil; and the Rev Carol Prowse (Christ Consciousness Community) Holy Communion bread and wine. A combined music group led the worship.
Pictured above is Rev David Austin at his institution and induction at St Luke’s in Norwich.