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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

The New St George’s, 1970 - 2010

John Symonds authored the book, The History of the Old St George’s, and more recently worked on a history of The New St George’s, covering the period from the construction of the new church in 1970, to the year 2010. We are pleased to be serialising this account over the coming issues of St George’s News.

Chapter 6 - The Millennium Years - 2002 to 2004

Early in 2002 a worrying financial problem emerged when the Treasurer announced a possible deficit of £10,000 for the current year. To help raise the money Jane Rice-Oxley organised a Church Charity Shop which opened for a week. It was well supported and over £2000 was added to church funds. Additionally a loan scheme was introduced which raised £13,000 on a short term basis mainly to cope with a water leak in the tower and the work on the new church cross and vestry toilet.

Richard Spurgeon replaced Tony Rice-Oxley as Church Warden and new P.C.C. members elected included Rod Dawson, Wendy Pearce, Bronwen Wood and Mary Hutchings. A fresh Electoral Roll was drawn up listing 175 names.

This year’s stage production was Music Hall Ancient and Modern with contributions from many of the congregation.

The 75th Anniversary of the Portsmouth Diocese was celebrated with a Field Day for all parishes on Castle Field in Southsea. Fortunately the weather was fine and the event was well attended. In the autumn Cecil Wilman took over permanently as the new organist whilst a link was established with St Mary’s Axim in Ghana through the USPG.

The regular Thursday WI market ceased when the WI withdrew and it was replaced by St George’s Market.

There was a grand celebration on December 8th when Bishop Kenneth Stevenson preached at the Sunday Eucharist and afterwards blessed the newly installed illuminated Tower Cross. Church finances were boosted by an £8,000 legacy from the estate of the late Mrs Rosalyn Edwards whilst another successful fund raising event was the Harvest Barn Dance. Some of the money was used to pay for the installation of a disabled toilet in the Choir Vestry and the work on the tower. The year ended with a Crib and Christingle Service which attracted many young families.

In the Spring of 2003 Tony and Jane Rice-Oxley organised another parish weekend in France centred on Bayeux in Normandy scene of bitter fighting in 1944 and also home of the famous Bayeux Tapestry. The visit included a very interesting visit to the Arromanche beach and the local museum.

 On May 11 a Parish Lunch was held to celebrate the Patronal Festival. Many old friends attended including Harry and Joyce Gibson, Henry and Joan Theobald, the Rev Peter Stanway former curate, Chris and Grace Dursley and Colin and Sue Towers.  Father Holcombe from Llandaff Cathedral preached at the service beforehand. The youth club began a series of  weekend campings in the gardens of Glendene. These included an evening walk, barbecues, a parent invitation on the Saturday evening and a walk up to church on the Sunday.

In July the vicar (Rev Malcolm Ferrier ) retired after 21 years of ministry at St George’s and went to live in Warminster. Overall he had been a parish Priest for 43 years. There was no immediate appointment of a new parish priest and various retired clergy took the Sunday services in the ensuing months. Particular among these was The Reverend Ray Chapman who carried out most of the required duties and continued in post at St George’s after the next Priest appointment. On October 2nd the Archdeacon of Portsdown, The Ven. Christopher Lowson, met with the P.C.C. to discuss the appointment of a new vicar and specifically to gauge opinions regarding women priests. Two resolutions were voted on by the P.C.C.

John Symonds

• To be continued

Christmas  2021 & New Year issue

Youth Club canal boat trip up the river Wey to Hampton Court and back

Resolution  A - that the P.C.C. would not accept a woman as minister who presides at or celebrates Holy Communion and pronounces Absolution. Defeated by 9 votes to 4

Resolution B - that the P.C.C. would not accept a woman as incumbent or Priest-in-charge or as Team Vicar. Carried by 7 votes to 6

Richard Spurgeon and Richard Handy were authorised to liaise further with the Archdeacon in the selection process.

2004: Before any appointment was made the Diocesan authorities shocked many in the parish by announcing that the Vicarage in Stakes Hill Road was to be sold off mainly because roof repairs were required which would cost an estimated £60,000. Eventually a new vicarage was purchased in Deanswood Drive on the other side of the town. Meanwhile Youth Club members enjoyed another Canal Holiday at Easter following which Tony Rice-Oxley was elected Church Warden for the second time in place of Lynn Winter.

At Easter time the Rice-Oxleys and the Spurgeons took the Youth club for a week’s canal boat trip up the river Wey to Hampton Court and back.

It was announced in June that the Rev Michael Sheffield,Vicar of St Albans West Leigh, would be the next vicar. Both he and his wife Lynda originally came from Essex. He trained for the ministry at Salisbury and Wells Theological College, served as curate at St Johns Locks Heath from 1979-83 and then spent 13 years at Holy Trinity Ryde and St Michael’s Swanmore before going to West Leigh. His induction by Bishop Stevenson took place on 16 July and this was followed by a huge celebration in the church hall. A new computer system was installed in the sacristy as Fr Mike had indicated that he would be spending much of his working time in there.

A month later John Symonds published “Forgotten Heroes”  concerning the men named on the church War Memorial. The men from the neighbouring parishes of Purbrook and Cowplain were also included in the book, not forgetting  the men of the Second World War who are not commemorated on any War Memorial.

In this year the Diocesan Bishop introduced a new project to more integrate churches in Deaneries. Entitled Kairos it proved very successful in the opening months.