The long wait at a Worthing church for a priest-in-charge is over, with the appointment of the Rev Peter Kane.
The arrival of Mr Kane at St Botolph’s Church in Heene ends an interregnum of more than four and a half years – the longest of any church in the Diocese of Chichester.
Parishioners fought to save the church when it was threatened with closure in 2012 and it is the lay officials who have kept it going in the past few years.
Mr Kane, 46, said he had been appointed on a ‘house for duty’ basis, which means he is non-stipendiary and part-time.
He was licensed in a ceremony attended by about 100 people at the church, in Lansdowne Road, on Tuesday and his core days of working will be Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
Mr Kane said churchwardens Paul Wadey and Diane Le Mare had been very hardworking and had done ‘a grand job’ of keeping everything going.
“That is the thing in interregnum, people find their gifts and strengths, and my job will be to continue their services,” he added.
“More lay people are getting involved at church these days and I think that is something that we should have done all along. When a priest takes it all on themselves, they are preventing the people of God using their gifts.
“I have always been keen on helping people discover their gifts and I am really encouraging them to continue and build on what has already been happening. I think there is scope here.”
Mr Kane has started a new midweek communion on Wednesdays, describing it as a ‘more intimate’ service.
He is also looking to further develop the lay ministries in the parish, as there are 23 care homes. The parish serves 6,500 people, as it is the most densely-populated ward in Worthing.
Mr Kane grew up in London and was encouraged to take an interest in music from an early age. His first degree was in music and he did a year of postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music, as well as holding organist posts at various churches over the years.
He is therefore delighted to find St Botolph’s has a wonderful choir and it has the honour of being the only church in Worthing with eight bells.
Having been brought up as a Methodist, Mr Kane had felt, over the years, an inkling of a call to serve in ordained ministry.
He was accepted for training as a Methodist minister and spent three years at Wesley House in Cambridge, including completing a degree in theological and religious studies.
Mr Kane spent two years as a Methodist minister in Southport, a town he says has many similarities to Worthing.
A year at Newham followed and it was during this time he transferred to the Anglican ministry. He served in the parish of St Paul in Chichester from 2009 to 2013 and was then vicar at St James’ Church in Clacton until the summer of 2017.
Mr Kane said he moved to Worthing about six months ago, while he was looking for a part-time position, so he had been able to start getting to know the town and people, including worshipping at St Matthew’s Church in Tarring Road.
The appointment at St Botolph’s was announced in June. Mr Kane described it as a traditional parish church, falling somewhere between high church and low church, so not overly formal.