New Priest for All Saints, Tilford
A large congregation warmly welcomed the Revd.Neil Fairlamb to his new ministry at All Saints Church, Tilford, on the evening of 15th May 2019. Neil (picture: right) was licensed and installed by the Archdeacon of Surrey, the Ven.Paul Davies, who had also been Neil’s archdeacon in his last parish in Anglesey before moving to the Guildford Diocese.
The Parish of Tilford is part of a United Benefice with St.Thomas-on-The Bourne, whose Vicar is the Revd.John Morris.
Clergy and congregation were involved in a joyful service, whose theme was partnership “between God and the Church, the whole people of God – and between the ordained ministry and the lay members, each with their individual gifts”.
Ceremonies at the font, lectern and altar symbolised aspects of Neil’s new ministry, the Call to Discipleship, to Mission and to Worship.
Then Neil and his wife Yvonne, were welcomed by the Area Dean, the Revd.Jane Walker, on behalf of the local clergy, and by representatives of the church and community in Tilford.
Neil replaces All Saints’ much-loved parish priest Canon Heather Humphrey, who sadly died in February 2018. The appointment was announced during Sunday morning services on 10th February 2019).
Neil and his wife Yvonne come to Tilford from North Wales, where, since 2003, he had served as Rector of Beaumaris and Ministry Area Leader of Bro Seiriol (serving the communities around Beaumaris, Llanddona and Penmon) in the Archdeaconry of Anglesey (see map below).
Neil was ordained in the Diocese of Southwark as a non-stipendiary minister, before moving into stipendiary ministry in St.David’s Diocese (Pembrokeshire and adjacent counties).
He then moved to the Diocese of Bangor - serving first in Arthog, Fairbourne and Llwyngwril on the Meirionnydd coast, before coming to be Rector of Beaumaris in 2003.
In addition to his ministerial gifts, Neil is a knowledgable wine expert, with a particular interest in the wines and spirits of Spain and Portugal, which have refreshed him on many pilgrim treks on the different Camino routes to Santiago de Compostela.
Neil is the author of historical books on the clergy and gentry of Beaumaris, as well as the Chair of the Grail Trust, which supports disadvantaged children in South India where Neil visits each year. He also stood for election on numerous occasions to the Welsh Assembly and UK Parliament.
When looking forward to his new appointment, Neil said:
“Yvonne and I have been very happy to have spent 20 years in Bangor Diocese. We married just as we started in Meirionnydd and have made many friends in the parishes and through wider ecumenical links including Ynys Enlli and the Roman Catholic Church’s outreach activities from St.Beuno’s and Loreto.
The care of our heritage buildings has been a rewarding challenge and we have been fortunate to have lived in such beautiful surroundings that have been daily inspirations. I am also grateful for the opportunity to pursue different interests in writing and politics.
The new post in Surrey will be an opportunity to care for a traditional but outward looking village community and to be part of a busy town ministry in Farnham. I am so fortunate to be in good health and to be given an opportunity to continue ministry into my 70s, sharing life’s journeys with people - in solidarity with their joys and sorrows as we make our Christian pilgrimage together.
Yvonne and I are so grateful for everyone’s support and prayers.”
The Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andy John, said:
“I’m so pleased that Neil has found the right location to continue with his ministry, as well as enjoying some retirement. Neil has many gifts alongside the courage of his convictions. I hope and pray that they will continue to flourish in Tilford. We will keep Neil and Yvonne in our prayers and wish them every blessing in the future.
Please do also pray for the people and team of Bro Seiriol as we begin the process of appointing a new Vicar and Ministry Area Leader there.”
Information from Tilford Parish and the Bangor Diocesan web site.