On a lovely summer’s evening, the congregations of St. Barnabas and St. Nicholas Churches gathered in Southfleet to witness and participate in the Licencing and Installation of Rev. Simeon Nevell to become Priest-in-Charge of the two benifices. They were joined by other local Priests and Lay Readers as well as family, friends and priests from the Six Benefice, where Simeon has just completed his time as a Curate.
The Associate Area Dean started the service by welcoming the gathering of 103 people, followed by a grand procession down the aisle, leading Bishop Simon of Tonbridge to his throne in the centre of the Church. From here the Bishop invited Simeon to renew the vows he made when ordained, during which time he was presented with various items of worship by representatives from both churches. Simeon declared that he accepts the Holy Scriptures, will pray diligently, lead people in spreading the good news of The Gospel, minister the sacraments (of baptism, marriage, communion etc.), strive towards world peace and in his life and working together with others, will set an example as he strives to follow Jesus Christ. He then read the Licence and anointed Simeon who was then Installed as Priest-in-Charge by the Archdeacon Rev. Andrew Wooding-Jones.
The service included some rousing favourite hymns (Thine be the Glory, Risen, Conquering Son; Be thou my Vision, O Lord of my Heart; If Faith can move Mountains; In Christ Alone my Hope is Found) chosen by Simeon as were the readings from Isaiah 61:1-9 and Luke 10:1-12. Simeon’s first service to his new parishoners was to lead them in prayer. This was followed by a service of Communion shared together. Throughout the service the singing was enhanced by the choir of St. Nicholas and singers from St. Barnabas.
During the service, Simeon was formally introduced to other representatives of the community as he takes his place amongst them, including parish Councillors of Bean and Southfleet, district Councillors of Istead Rise, Sedley’s School Headteachers and the Istead Rise Community Warden. Following this he was welcomed by his colleagues from the Cobham Deanery, of which St. Barnabas and St. Nicholas are a part.
This joyful and uplifting service was followed by a reception in St. Barnabas’ church hall when many had the chance to meet their new priest and enjoy some socialising and delicious refreshments.
Simeon has stated that this is a new beginning. Old things have to end in order to make way for the new. This enables growth, development and sometimes change.
‘’We step forward into this new and exciting journey together. It is an opportunity to come before God, fully ourselves in the uniqueness that each congregation and every person within them brings, yet in unity as together we submit ourselves to God’s will. Psalm 133:1&3 “When God’s people live together in unity…. There the Lord bestows his Blessing”.
I look forward to seeing what God will do, as we make this positive statement of love towards God and each other, placing our whole trust and hope in him’’.