After 13 years in Fakenham
, and 43 years in ministry, Revd Bell
organised the farewell service to say thank you to the large number of people in the town who have helped him and his wife Marian
to serve the town and bring the town and the church closer together.
people packed the church, including those of all ages and people from all areas of the town. The Mayor of Fakenham
and the President of the Rotary Club
, as well as representatives from the Royal British Legion, ATC
and other organisations that Adrian had been involved with all attended.
A carnival atmosphere was created with helium “Thank You” balloons decorating the church and wine for all in the congregation as well as a celebration cake. The service was led by the 20 strong church choir during which the Rector’s favourite hymns and songs (including 23rd Psalm “The Vicar of Dibley” anthem) were chosen as well as ‘You’ll never walk alone’ from Carousel.
After a short review of his 43 years of ministry, Rev Bell led a moving ‘thank you’ to the town and congregation. The standards of the Royal British Legion and the ATC arrived as the congregation sang ‘I vow to thee my country’ - The Rector is a great royalist and patriot. He read out names of some of the 500 people whose funerals he had conducted in Fakenham as a candle was processed, and the choir sang ’You’ll never walk along’. A recently married young couple and a young family represented the weddings and 434 baptisms he had conducted.
Adrian and Marian toured the congregation receiving cards, and a surprise gift of a food mixer was presented to the Rector, who is a very keen cook. Other gifts to the pair included garden vouchers and a jewellery box.
‘Although I was really dreading my final day at church after 13 years as Rector, the service was very moving, with very high quality music and something for everyone! It was an extraordinary day which was actually great fun, and I’m sure few will ever forget it’ said Rev Bell.
“I will always remember Fakenham, and I realised on Sunday that I must have achieved something here because the congregation at my farewell celebration was over double that at my Induction in 2001. The people have of the town have shown their love to us, and we very much reciprocated this.”
Pictures are courtesy of James Bell : firstname.lastname@example.org