Finding someone new to fill the position of Rector is never an easy task, but at 7.30pm on Monday 3rd of February in Wickhambrook church the process was completed. The Institution, Induction and Installation of Reverend Eve Bell as Rector of the Bansfield Benefice was a joyous occasion bringing together many people: Mike, Bishop of Dunwich; David, Archdeacon of Sudbury; Stuart, Rural Dean of Clare; Joe, Dean of the Cathedral; Clergy who have helped out over the last two years; Clergy from the Catholic, Methodist and United Reform church and parish representatives from the seven churches of the benefice. Family and friends were also present, parishioners and Parish Council representatives from the seven parishes and Miss Towns, the headteacher of Wickhambrook Primary Academy, all helping to swell the throng in the church. But this evening, the star was Eve, beaming away and enjoying every moment of her big night.
The church was warm, always a good start, with candles adorning the sills of the windows to give extra atmosphere. The flower arrangements gave the final touch to the visual splendour of the church. Clergy were in their finery and specially printed souvenir service books distributed. All was now in place for the service to begin. Ken Ireland, our organist for the evening, introduced the processional hymn, a cue for the entourage of cross bearer, Clergy, fourteen wand-bearing parish representatives, the Archdeacon, Bishop and Eve to process to their seats. The service itself was a lovely affair steeped with symbolism demonstrating the importance of the role of Rector in our parishes. The language of the service and choice of hymns, all sung with gusto, added to the occasion. The final act of the installation was the presentation of “Cure of Souls” within our seven parishes, and thus we had our new Rector. The service concluded with the recessional hymn and then a chance for the assembled throng to meet, congratulate and chat with Eve our new Rector. To facilitate this a reception was laid on after the service boasting many types of finger food served with wine or soft drinks. The food was lovingly prepared by a band of wonderful helpers and the wine kindly donated by a generous benefactor which all served to round off a perfect evening. If you would like to see photos taken on the evening, Sam Sykes’ photos can be viewed via the benefice website -https://www.bansfieldbenefice.org.uk/press/bell-rector.html
At the beginning of the article I mentioned this process of installing a new Rector is never an easy one and in our case this took two years to complete. To keep the seven churches of the Bansfield benefice going all that time and to liaise with the diocese on many occasions created a lot of work for a number of individuals. I would like to thank on behalf of the benefice all those who helped and kept the benefice going during this interregnum, but would like to single out Hugh Douglas-Pennant for special mention for the many hours of work he put into this process. Without Hugh’s dedication the process would have been much more difficult. Well done Hugh - extra House points to Stansfield!