Brian Pritchard to retire
The Vicar of St Mary's Church, Billingshurst, The Revd Brian Pritchard, has today announced his intention to retire.
Brian said to the congregation at services this morning:
“In January I will celebrate the tenth anniversary of my Induction as Vicar of Billingshurst.
“Frances and I – with James and Sam, our sons – have prayed and talked together, and we believe that the time is now right for me to retire and for the work and vision here to be taken forward by another Vicar”.
Brian moved to West Sussex with his family from Newbury, Berkshire, in December 2005. He was inducted as Vicar of St Mary’s on 11 January 2006.
During his time as Vicar, he has overseen a number of changes, all with the aim of building a vibrant Christian community. In September 2006, a worship band was formed and the 11am service was launched, offering a more informal style of worship in addition to the regular weekly pattern of traditional services.
There have also been a number of opportunities for local people to explore the Christian faith, through the many special services (such as at Christmas and Easter), occasional offices (weddings, funerals, thanksgivings and baptisms) and Alpha courses.
Brian has enjoyed working alongside other church leaders in the area, including leading the Good Friday Walk of Witness, taking assemblies at local schools, jointly running Messy Church in the Village Hall and launching a team of Street Pastors.
He was active in getting the Faculty (planning permission) for the Transformation Project, which will see the ancient church building transformed into the modern age without damaging its historic integrity. His successor will be able to see the work to completion.
Under the leadership of his wife Frances, the children's work has grown, with a number of holiday clubs and special events held during the past ten years.
Brian’s last Sunday as Vicar will be Sunday 31 January 2016.