Paxtonvic’s Blog

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A visit to St Albans Diocese

Incase anyone was wondering where Paxtonvic has been – the answer is away in St Albans Diocese. This time of year, around the season of Petertide, 100’s of men and women are ordained deacon and priested in the Church of England and I was very fortunate to be invited to attend the priesting at St Albans Abbey on Saturday July 4th and thereby support Rev Diane Whittaker. Diane had undertaken her parish placement here in the Benefice last year and is now a curate in the Welwyn Team Minstry ( that’s not Welwyn Garden City but the group of villages to the west of WGC based at Welwyn) Sorry if you are confused – it took me a while to get the geography!

If we are ever tempted to think that the Church of England is on its last pillars, go to an ordination service. The Abbey was packed, 16 men and women were priested on this occasion and the atmopsphere was utterly joyful.  The new Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, is not yet in post so the service was led by the two suffragan bishops of Bedford and Hertford along with other cathedral staff – and I loved every minute of it – though I was so hot – as were many of us who were robed. The moment when we came forward to lay hands on the priests -to-be heads is so special.

I took lots of pictures of the Abbey as I arrived rather early, so I thought it wouldbe nice during the week to post some of them along with reflections.

After the ordination I found my way to Welwyn church where the parish put on a spread for Diane – very welcome. The Team Rector Alan Winton (soon to be the Bishop of Thetford) presented Diane with a stole as we met in their splendid new extension attached to the church  called ” Church House”. Every clergyperson ( and lay person’s!) dream in terms of offering flexibility of use.

diane presentation

Diane receiving her stole in  the Welwyn Church meeting rooms.

diane and jon

Rev Diane and Jon Whittaker after the ” bun fight”.

I was ready for a good night’s sleep after wonderful day and Diane and Jon kindly gave me lodging at their Woolmer Green curatage.

This morning I was again privileged to join with Diane as she  celebrated communion for the first time – firstly at Welwyn church and then at Woolmer Green. I preached on both occasions – and, yes, I could not resist doing a joke which went down… quite well. I was a bit taken aback by the large numbers at Welwyn – c 160 every sunday – and felt  less nervous at Woolmer Green with their 35 ish congregation.

me and diane

Diane and I after the service at Woolmer’s Green. Someone thought we were twins…..

It was time then to drive home and as you might have guessed, I had to watch the men’s finals at Wimbledon – what another thrilling match  with the fabulous Roger F winning  – but to honest I think Ive had enough tennis watching for a bit!!.

I always take time to adjust when Ive been away – and blogging has helped me be grounded again. Thanks to those who looked after the services in the Benefice today.

So, just one photo now from my St Albans Abbey adventure:


Is it an abbey or is it a cathedral and just where is Romeland? Is it where all the rather high-church clergy were congregating???

More tomorrow….

July 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Glad all went well.

    As a child I often had a day out at St Albans with Mum & Dad and remember the cathedral with very fond memories.

    Our special treat this weekend was listing to some brillant jaxx in Johnny Danckworth and Cleo Laine’s garden. Cleo still has a great voice at age 82. Each summer John & Cleo throw open their garden for a series of concerts in aid of young musicians.

    Comment by Peter Hagger | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. Sounds great – is Cleo Lane really 82???

    Comment by paxtonvic | July 7, 2009 | Reply

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