A SPECIAL service was held to celebrate a Bognor Regis vicar’s 25 years as a priest.
The packed congregation at St Wilfrid’s Church marked the anniversary of Father Andrew Wadsworth.
Many had come from his previous churches where he had honed his skills and personality. MP Nick Gibb was also present.
Canon Andrew Robinson, one of Father Andrew’s former colleagues, preached the sermon.
The event was a fitting celebration which honoured the dedicated life and commitment of Father Andrew as a priest.
A special cake, shaped like a bible, was cut to rousing cheers.
Father Andrew said he had seen many changes in the past quarter of a century.
“Above all, the skills required by a priest have never been greater.
“A priest today must know far more about the law, such as health and safety, finance and buildings and child protection.
“A priest must know more and must have a greater sense of mission and commitment at a time when the survival of parishes is under threat as never before.”
Father Andrew was educated at Ardingly College.
He was impressed by the headmaster, Christopher Bulteel, and became a Christian and began to think about the priesthood.
He first went to Durham University to read history.
His stay in the region saw him visit mining villages and take services in their Methodist and Anglican chapels.
It was there he developed his great sense of ecumenicism.
He then went to Cambridge University where he trained as a teacher.
Teaching has been a major force in his life and he says these skills have been very important to him.
He has always enjoyed the opportunity to talk to children of all ages about God.
Father Andrew finished off his formal education for the priesthood at Chichester Theological College.
He has the very special and rare Archbishop of Lambeth degree.
Between 1999 and 2001 he took part in the Anglican Church’s mission with business and collaborated with the Institute of Directors.