Mike Gardner - Vicar of St. Luke's, Stanmore with St. Mark's, Oliver's Battery

Roger Lynch writes: I have visited Winchester three times to witness Mike Gardner, our former Church Army Captain, being made Deacon, Priest and now Vicar. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, presided at all three occasions, including this installation and collation of Mike as Vicar of St. Luke's, Stanmore with St. Mark's, Oliver's Battery.

The Order of Service read "We are delighted that Mike, our Curate for the last four and a half years, is to become Mike, our Vicar. This is a most unusual appointment and reflects the great admiration, respect and affecfion in which he is held".

Winchester clergy do not seem to move far away. Mike moved half a mile to their new home. His predecessor moved to another parish on the other side of the city and is returning to his former church as Rural Dean to conduct the installation. The entire service was marked by wonderful singing and a strong sense of prayer, embracing all those present. The gifts to the new Vicar included a bible, a vessel of olive oil and the Communion elements.

When the new Vicar was presented to his congregation the Bishop asked Kate and Oliver to stand with Mike so he could present the whole family to the parish, a move that was applauded enthusiastically. My only regret was that there was insufficient time for all those present to take Holy Communion together.

After the service we went downstairs to ultra modern Parish Offices for refreshments. Here the Bishop, Archdeacon, other clergy and the Mayor mingled with the large congregation. Everyone made me feel very welcome, much as we like to do in Leatherhead.

from the January 2002 Parish Magazine