Reverend Susan Bolen was officially installed as Priest-in-Charge of Wandsworth St Paul (Wimbledon Park) by the Right Reverend Dr Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston, at a licensing service on Tuesday 7th February at 7.30 pm. The licensing of Revd Susan marks the end of an interregnum of over a year since the departure of Revd Heinz Toller in January 2018. It is the start of a new chapter in the life of St Paul’s.
Revd Susan made the Declaration of Assent and swore the oaths of Allegiance and of Canonical Obedience before the Bishop, the Archdeacon of Wandsworth (the Venerable John Kiddle), Area Dean (the Revd Ian Tattum), and Church Wardens (Margaret Brown and Bob Essert). The Bishop was assisted at the service by the Revd Dr Nicky von Fraunhofer, Honorary Curate at St Paul’s.
The occasion was honoured by the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Wandsworth, Councillor Piers McCausland and Mrs Elizabeth McCausland, who took special place among a large congregation within the beautifully decorated church. Representatives of faith groups, local churches, community organisations and schools joined in welcoming Revd Susan to her incumbency. They were joined by a large contingent of friends and church members from Revd Susan’s former parish of Frimley in Surrey, where she was formerly Curate. Also present were many of the visiting preachers who have supported our worship at St Paul’s throughout the interregnum.
The choir and music for the service was led by Director of Music, Kevin Jones, with special contributions from Talitha Jones (violin), Amber Bonham Carter (viola) and Samuel Jones (cello). The hymns, chosen by Susan, included One is the body and one is the Head, Let us build a house where love can dwell (the offertory hymn), and God is love, let heav’n adore him.
Norman Allen CBE, Reader at St Paul’s, took the first reading from Letter to Hebrews, Chapter 12, verses 1-3; and Isabel Heycock, a member of the congregation, delivered the Gospel reading from Mark, Chapter 5, verses 21-43.
During the Order of Service, Revd Susan was presented by the Area Dean, Revd Ian Tattum, to Bishop Richard, who then led her in a reaffirmation of Ordination Vows. Having formally received the licence, the new Priest-in-Charge led her congregation in the Prayers of Intercession. She was then formally greeted by Churchwardens Margaret Brown and Bob Essert and other members of the community as the choir sang the Welcoming Anthem with music adapted by Dr Kevin Jones:
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino (Let us all rejoice in the Lord tempus celebrationem a time for celebration receperint ut novus sacerdos welcome to our new priest)
Organ music after the service was The Lord’s Day (The Gift to be Simple) from Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990).
Revd Susan was afterwards joined by dignitaries, clergy, the lay team, members of the congregation, community representatives and honoured guests for a sumptuous bring-and-share supper in the hall of St Paul’s Community Centre. The catering was provided by many dedicated volunteers, ably co-ordinated with great skill by Joan Endean, Parish Auxiliary.
Our warmest welcome to Revd Susan and her family from the entire community at St Paul’s. We offer our prayers of thanks for our new Priest-in-Charge and for the future of our church as we embark on the next stage of our journey.