On Saturday 2nd July the parish and wider community in Croydon and South London gathered at St John’s Church in Upper Norwood to celebrate with Fr Andrew Wilson his Golden Jubilee of priesting. Nearly 200 people attended to give thanks with Fr Andrew for the things he has been committed to in his ministry: the worship of Almighty God, and of course Mental Health chaplaincy and charities.
It was an auspicious gathering full of joy and happiness, reflection, gratitude and bucket loads of love. The Mass started with Parry’s anthem “I was glad” and we continued with hymns of joy and thanksgiving. Timpanis rattled away underpinning the voices of all who sang out and sang well. At the heart of the offering was the Gospel which contained words from Isaiah repeated by Jesus:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
These words sum up Fr Andrew’s commitment to Christ and His Kingdom and Good News. The Mass included the hymn in which the understanding of Jesus the light of the world was recited:
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘I am this dark world’s Light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright:’
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till travelling days are done.
Fr John in his sermon thanked Fr Andrew for 50 years of commitment to God and the people of God, and looked to the coming 50 years with anticipation and great hope! Our celebrations ended with the choir singing ‘A Hymn to the Virgin’ by Benjamin Britten and all of us present having a moment just to think and share in our gratitude to God for Fr Andrew’s ministry.
A reception followed with wonderful food and a magnificent cake, giving us all the chance to let Fr Andrew know how much he means to us and this community.