After many years of uncertainty in the parish of Hellingly, a new vicar has been appointed at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church.
The Rev David Farey was inducted as the new Vicar of Hellingly and Upper Dicker churches by the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Richard Jackson.
Mr Farey comes from having been working for the Diocese of Chichester as the social responsibility officer and before that as communications officer.
Previously he had been Rector of Laughton Ripe and Chalvington from 1996 to 2010. Mr Farey said he was pleased to be joining the church.
He said, “I am very much looking forward to the challenge of building up the churches in what is a fast growing area.
“We need to make sure that the church is relevant for today and show that spiritual values are important for living even in today’s fast moving world.”
This is welcome news for parishioners who have been without a permanent vicar for some years.
Last year, the Herald reported the Reverend Charlie Hill, the vicar for St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church in Hellingly, has been withdrawn from his duties for more than two years.
It was reported that parishioners were asking questions about when he would return.
The reverend was on long-term sick leave and the diocese said he had been withdrawn for ‘personal reasons’. They asked his privacy be respected.
However, this did not stop talk among church-goers in Hellingly and church leaders published a newsletter telling parishioners they must not discuss the matter – not even in private.
At the time, a spokesperson from the Diocese of Chichester said, “Revd Charlie Hill, parish priest of Hellingly and Upper Dicker churches, has temporarily withdrawn from ministry for personal reasons and we ask that privacy is respected during this time.
“He has the full support of the diocese.
“The Rev Tony Fiddian-Green has been appointed to the parish to take services and undertake the responsibilities of the parish priest until Charlie Hill’s return.”
Services continued despite Charlie Hill absence but now a permanent vicar has been appointed and the induction service for the new Rev David Farey took place on September 30.
A spokesperson from the Diocese of Chichester this week said they wished Rev David Farey the best of luck in Hellingly.
The spokesperson added, “David Farey brings a wealth of experience and will be of great benefit to the parish.
“He has a great deal of pastoral experience and is a very good listener with good mediation skills so I think everyone in the parish will benefit.
“We hope he settles in well.”