Installation of New Vicar   

Wednesday 26th May, 7.30 pm

St John the Baptist, Wonersh

We hope you will be able to join us as we welcome our new Vicar, Revd David Peters on Wednesday 26th May at 7.30pm. The service will be either live-streamed (technology allowing!) or by Zoom. Please check the church website for details nearer the time.

Message from The Venerable Paul Davies, Archdeacon of Surrey:

I was hoping that the vacancy in Wonersh and Blackheath was going to be one of the shortest on record! We first advertised the post just after Debbie’s appointment as Bishop of Southampton and I was secretly hoping that we might get someone in place by September 2019. It seems like God had other plans! It is remarkable to think that when we formally institute, induct and install David Peters as vicar of Wonersh and Blackheath, it will have been not much short of a two-year vacancy. I don’t want this opportunity to pass without expressing my very sincere thanks to all those who have worked so hard during this time. Special mention must be made to David and Kia; to the churchwardens, Alex, Guy and Patricia; to the PCC; to the clergy team and staff who’ve all been amazing. Thanks also to all those whose contributions are equally significant, enabling the Body of Christ to remain at the heart of these communities.

I have been asked to explain a little about the liturgy on 26th May. The church has its own language and customs which are often completely unintelligible to those not in the know! Personally, I find all services which mark the commencement of a new ministry moving and powerful. The making of an incumbent does, however, feel particularly weighty. The service has lots of traditional elements which have their roots deep in the soil of the Church and Nation of England. I think I’d like to point out three things about the service which may be of interest.

First, David is not being licensed as minister of St John the Baptist Church and St Martin’s Church, but as vicar of Wonersh and Blackheath. This is an important distinction. He will be incumbent of the whole parish - those who attend church and those who don’t. For me, this is at the heart of what it means to be the established church and is also a reflection of the God who so loved - not the church - but the world (John 3:16). That’s the reason that the Registry make public (through notice) the intention to make David vicar of the parish - as it’s an appointment which will be of significance for all who live in Wonersh and Blackheath.

Secondly, let me unpack the terminology that will be used on 26th May. David will be presented by Canon Hugh Shilson-Thomas, the Dean of Chapel at Selwyn College, Cambridge, representing the college as patron of the parish. He will subsequently be instituted (by the Bishop); inducted (by the Archdeacon); and installed (by the Archdeacon). Each of these words is significant. It is through the institution that the Bishop shares with David the spiritual authority and responsibilities of the parish. The Bishop does this because he or she is the chief pastor of the diocese and the one ultimately responsible for spiritual authority in the diocese. Bishop Jo will say to David on the night of his institution “Receive the cure of souls which you and I both share, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. It is through the induction that the Archdeacon shares with David the temporal authority and responsibilities of the parish. The Archdeacon does this because he or she has a responsibility for the buildings and temporal goods of the church and their safe keeping. I will take David to the door of the church on the evening of his induction, give him the keys of the church, and say “I induct you into the real and actual possession of the parish church of this benefice, with all the rightsand responsibilities belonging to your office”. From that point, David will be the legal owner of the church and vicarage (but can’t sell them!). I will then proceed to ‘install’ David. Through this act, I will place him in the special seat reserved for the incumbent which represents his office. Once I have installed David, the very first thing he will do is kneel and pray.

Thirdly (and after the institution, induction and installation) we then, all together, recommit ourselves to the work of mission and ministry. We will use the font, the lectern and the altar to dedicate ourselves afresh, with David, to the respective work of discipleship, mission and worship. Whilst David will seek to lead in this, these tasks are that of the whole church and so we will all be part of this recommitment. I am so looking forward to this occasion and to walking alongside you as we begin a new chapter of mission and ministry in Wonersh and Blackheath.

With my love and continued support,


 Church Life