Published: 00:04, 18 September 2016
The Rector of Sandwich reflected on the “great privilege” of serving the town for 25 years at a surprise party in St Clement’s Church.
The Rev Canon Mark Roberts, 62, was inducted as the Rector of Sandwich on September 12, 1991, by the then Bishop of Dover, the Right Rev Richard Third and the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven Michael Till.
He marked quarter of a century in the town at a special service followed by the party on Sunday.
It was attended by his congregations, both at St Clement’s and St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Worth, the mayor and mayoress Cllr Paul and Sue Graeme. Former mayors and churchwardens were also there.
Canon Roberts was presented with an engraved glass bowl and a cheque to pay for a special break for him and his wife Jasmine.
He said: “It has been and still is, a great privilege to be Rector of Sandwich and to lead the life of St Clement’s Parish Church.
“During the last 25 years a great deal has been achieved for the fabric, maintenance and enhancement of the church – the restoration of the nave roof, the restoration of the great Norman Tower, the building of the new organ which has enabled St Clement’s to develop its very special music over the years, and recently the completion of the new rooms and facilities in the south east corner of the church, enabling St Clement’s to be fit for purpose as the living church of our town for the 21st century.”
For nine years before coming to Sandwich Canon Roberts was vicar of three parishes in Romney Marsh.
Before that he was Curate of St Mary’s Parish Church, Ashford, for five years – having been ordained a deacon in 1977 and priest in 1978 in Canterbury Cathedral by the then Archbishop, Dr Donald Coggan.
He said: “It has been an honour to be chaplain to the Mayor of Sandwich throughout these years and to work with successive mayors and to contribute to the civic life of our special town and community.
“My association with schools has been a significant part of life, including at various times being chairman of the governors of Sir Roger Manwood’s School and Sandwich Infant School.
“Above all it has been, and is, the relationship over the years with so many people that has been most special, not least being alongside people in the ministry of pastoral care and celebrating and marking joys and sorrows.
“I give thanks for everyone’s friendship, loyalty and support and to all those who have helped make it possible to have shared and succeeded in so many things together.
“It will continue to be a privilege to serve God here.”
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