The end of an era

An announcement from Norfolk this morning…

Fr. Philip North has announced that after six years as Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, he will be taking up the post of Team Rector in Camden, North London:

I’m moving! I have accepted the Bishop of Edmonton’s offer to be Team Rector of the Old St Pancras Team Ministry in Camden and so will leave Walsingham in the early part of the Autumn. I have had a wonderful six years at the Shrine, but it is time now for me to return to the parish setting. The Old St Pancras Team is an irresistibly fascinating parish, combining extreme wealth with extreme poverty and with some really excellent colleagues and laypeople. I will be sad to leave the Shrine but also relish the challenges that lie ahead.

This is truly, the end of an era, when Mission, and especially Mission to Children and Young People was placed at the forefront of the Shrine’s work, and the Shrine ceased to be a backwater of lace and gin and became rightfully, the Nation’s Favourite Spiritual Place.

I consider Philip not only a mentor and a guru of mine, but also an inspiration and a friend. Of course, he will do marvelously in Camden, and they are lucky to have him, but after this summer, we will have to face the future of the Children’s and Youth Pilgrimages with trepidation: will the next Administrator be as open, as creative, as willing to take risks in the cause of the Gospel? Is there going to be space for work such as mine in the new vision? [I sincerely hope so Will there be a conservative backlash or a continued, bold vision forward?

I believe that the Shrine is one of the most important places of Anglican Spirituality, and from where mission and evangelism can spring to rejuvenate the whole church. I pray that through the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, and with a sacramental focus, we can revitalise this land. The Shrine is the fount of that, and must not become the last hiding whole of a church unclear of its message, inwardly focussed and more interested in its vestments than its proclamation.

…I wonder where you can download the application form from 🙂