Avon Valley Churches bid farewell to the Rev Canon Gary Philbrick after nine years as he moves to new role at Winchester Cathedral
A FAREWELL service has been held for the leader of a group of seven churches who, after nine years, is moving on to take up a post at Winchester Cathedral.
Tributes, anecdotes, photographs and hymns were shared at the event for the Rev. Canon Gary Philbrick at Burgate School in Fordingbridge.
Since 2013 the Rev. Philbrick has been rector of Avon Valley Churches, which comprises St Mary’s Church in Fordingbridge, Sandleheath Uniting Church, St Giles Church in Godshill, Church of the Holy Ascension in Hyde, St Mary's Church in Breamore, St Mary's Church in Hale and St Boniface Church in Woodgreen.
He was presented with a line drawing of all seven churches in the parish by artist Jen Oulton, and the St Mary’s Fordingbridge Choir performed a moving rendition of Gaelic Blessing, written and arranged by the Rev. Philbrick.
Speaking at the event, he said: "I thank you, Avon Valley Churches, for the love, kindness and support you have shown me over these last years.
"I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to minister in this place. As I leave, I carry with me all that I have learned here."
He will now begin a new chapter as chaplain at Winchester Cathedral. He will combine the role, in which he will be responsible for the pastoral care and support of cathedral staff, volunteers and regular worshippers, with that of assistant archdeacon for the Diocese of Winchester.
The Dean of Winchester, the Very Rev. Catherine Ogle, said: "Gary is extremely well placed to make a significant contribution to the life of Winchester Cathedral as its next chaplain.
"His appointment is a real benefit to the cathedral, bringing with him a gracious, thoughtful, wise and encouraging presence, which I know will make him a brilliant addition to the team."