Saturday, 19 June 2021

Rector celebrates 40th anniversary

THE rector of St Mary’s Church in Henley has celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination.

THE rector of St Mary’s Church in Henley has celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination.

Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths, who has held his current post for 11 years, was joined by about 250 worshippers for a commemorative mass on Saturday, December 19.

The congregation included Henley Mayor Lorraine Hillier, the Mayoress Susan George and parishioners of St Mary’s as well as St Nicholas’s Church in Remenham, with which it is united.

Also present were Rev Duncan Carter, vicar of Holy Trinity church in Greys Hill, Henley, and Father Graham Lunn, priest at Mr Griffiths’s former church, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.

Hymns included All For Jesus and Lift High The Cross, while Fr Lunn delivered the sermon.

Mr Griffiths, 64, grew up in the Midlands and was ordained in the diocese of Birmingham after studying theology for four years at the University of Nottingham, then took a postgraduate qualification at St Martin’s College in Lancaster. He initially served in his home diocese before spending several years in Norfolk and then moving to Preston.

He came to Henley after seeing the job advertised in the Church Times in 2004.

Mr Griffiths lives at St Mary’s rectory with his wife Anne, whom he married 26 years ago.

He said: “My time here seems to have flown by but it has been both enjoyable and varied.

“I was touched by how many people came to the mass. To get 250 people together on a Saturday before Christmas is both moving and remarkable.”

Mr Griffiths is now considering when to retire.

He said: “I’d love to do another 18 months or so but then retirement beckons. I doubt many people have been in the same job for 40 years.

“Since coming to Henley I’ve been struck by people’s kindness, hospitality and generosity. It has been hard work but enormous fun.

“Being so close to the community makes it harder to deal with when somebody you know dies but that’s balanced out by the joy of seeing a couple marry or baptising their children.”

Councillor Hillier said: “It was a spectacular day and I really enjoyed it. The church was absolutely full.

“Martin has brought immense dedication to his role and is a lovely person who cares deeply and has a great sense of humour.

“Whenever I meet him I know I’ll always leave with a smile on my face.”

After the service, a buffet lunch was held in the church and churchwarden Carol Brook-Partridge presented Mr Griffiths with a home-made cake and several gifts.

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