On the Sunday After Ascension, 21st May 2023, we welcomed The Most Reverend Mark Haverland, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Original Province and Acting Primate of the Anglican Catholic Church, to celebrate Mass and preach on the occasion of our the joyful celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of our Church building, the former Whitehill Methodist Church and Champion Hall.
The Churchwardens escorted the Archbishop into Church at the beginning of the service and Bishop Damien welcomed everyone. The Mass was preceded with an act of celebration and thanksgiving for the anniversary. In the presence of Her Worship the Mayor of Swale, Cllr Sarah Stephen, on her first public engagement as Mayor, and her consort Mr Paul Stephen, invited guests, Canon and Mrs Jonathan Foggin, who had accompanied the Archbishop from the USA, and some newcomers, joined the regular congregation to fill the Church.
It was especially pleasing to have with us Mr David Simmons, whose great grandfather had purchased the Whitehill House, the home of Evangeline Bing Byng whose generosity enabled the building of the Church in 1873, from the Byng Family’s estate in the late 1890’s. We are grateful that he attended and we felt we had a direct connection through him to Evangeline.
During the devotions there was a moment of reflection during which a special choral piece composed and sung by Barnabas Sharp, St Augustine’s Cantor, who had been inspired by the Scripture inscribed on Evangeline Byng’s memorial beside the Altar in Church, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Which is taken from Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.“)
After Mass we gathered in the Fyfe-Graham Parish Room and enjoyed sandwiches and a delicious celebratory cake (which Madam Mayor kindly made the first cut).
The Bishop wishes to thank everyone who attended and those who worked hard on the day and behind the scenes in the days before to make the occasion as success.
The Mass was recorded and has been uploaded to Bishop Damien’s YouTube channel https://youtu.be/4mGS5TbsLE4