It was a lovely dry and sunny evening as we arrived at St Mary Magdalene Church in Gorleston to celebrate Rev Peter’s 10 years as Great Yarmouth’s Port Chaplain
There were over 100 people cramming the church to celebrate this event, including the Mayor, Colleen Walker and her Consort, Sylvia Pratt
Rev Linda Ricketts (photo right) welcomed us all and the first song, Be Still, sung in seated contemplation and accompanied by the worship band from Gorleston Baptist Church.
A further worship song (Great is Thy Faithfulness) was followed by prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God led by Rev Linda
We were then superbly entertained by Dusty and Margaret (photo of Margaret left). Margaret read the shipping forecast presented in good old BBC Radio 4 style followed by Dusty’s interpretation and consequences from the perspective of a seafarer and dressed as a seafarer. She skilfully delivered hints of comedy intermingled with the pathos of a lonely life at sea
Dusty summed up with what the Mission to Seafarers offers to those at sea – hope and comfort; and leading into scripture with a reading regarding Jesus and the disciples in the storm
Dusty then read something she had written in the past and expertly delivered in a strong Norfolk accent and had us all in stitches
Pat Paine, Rev Peter’s wife, then read from Isaiah, followed by ‘a few words by a Baptist!!!’ delivered by Rev Richard Lewis, Baptist Regional Minister (pictured right).
He introduced himself and said that he had known Peter almost as long as he has been with the Mission and, indeed, officiated at Peter’s accreditation and ordination at Great Yarmouth Town Hall.
He described how Peter does his job with great humanity, giving the listening ear of God to all who come into the harbour. He went further and described Peter as "a man who exudes the love of God in places where the established church rarely gets”
After singing Love Divine and a further reading by Pat Paine, Rev Canon Huw Mosford, Director of Chaplaincy, the Mission to Seafarers (left of picture left) spoke and said he would like to celebrate also the partnership of Good Work and the Mission.
He related a story about the burglar who broke into a stately home, turned on his torch when inside and voice said "the angels are watching you". He turned around to see a parrot who said, when asked, his name was "St Michael”. The burglar replied “whoever calls a parrot St Michael?” The parrot responded “that same owner who calls his Rottweilers angels!".
Again, we were in stitches! He said the qualities of both saints and Rottweilers applied to Peter in his work role; in that they demonstrated goodness and persistence
He then went on to expand on what the lives of seafarers are like these days with long periods at sea away from home with short spells in port, often poor working conditions, language problems, unscrupulous ship owners, and overcrowding of ships. Huw finished with thanking both Peter and his family for all their dedication
Following the singing of Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah in the Welsh style, it was time for what was entitled ‘Peter’s Ramble’.
Peter (pictured right) said we had all been singing the same songs with the same tunes but how different that was on board ship. He can understand us!
Peter gave a brief history of his life, saying he was born in Eastbourne and that his fascination with the sea had started as a child with the pleasure boats and even had a job on those boats at the age of 12.
From then on he was totally smitten. He started his working life in the RAF, then spent some time in Social Services.
He then met the late Rev Chris Warner who said that he had a job for him. He then received a letter from Chris offering him the job of Port Chaplain, which he did on a three month trial.
From that day to this he and his wife, Pat, have always relied on God for provision of finances and He has not let them down. Peter also said that he had always had the support and backing of Richard Packham at the Town Hall. Peter concluded with telling us that us being there that evening meant a huge amount to him
Appropriately, we then sang The Lord's My Shepherd, followed by prayer, and closing with singing In Christ Alone
We all crammed into the next room for a great buffet and fellowship. During this time, Rev Peter Glanville excellently entertained us in his unique style. During this, in true party style a beautiful cake crafted with the Mission to Seafarers badge was produced and Peter took up the knife to make the first cut. A terrific end to a terrific celebration