Over 200 people filled Dorchester Abbey on Sunday 25 September for Archdeacon Judy’s Farewell Service.
Leading the service, the Bishop of Dorchester, Gavin Collins, praised Judy’s faithful service to the Archdeaconry as the first ever Archdeacon of Dorchester and said:
“Judy was deservedly known for her deep love of the people she served, her deep love of the church, and – most importantly – her deep love of God.”
He thanked Judy for her support and help to him as he started as a new bishop last year, and for the great fun and shared vision they had enjoyed as part of the Dorchester Area Team.
The service was joint with the annual service for the admission of members to the Fellowship of St Birinus. Bishop Gavin commissioned 14 new members into the fellowship and presented honorary membership to Archdeacon Judy, to Bishop Colin Fletcher, who had established the Fellowship during his time as Bishop of Dorchester, and to Bishop Steven, as the Diocesan Bishop. The fellowship was founded in 2009 as a way of honouring people who had given exceptional service to their local churches and communities.
Colleagues from across the diocese and clergy and lay people from the Archdeaconry of Dorchester joined in thanking Judy and gathered for tea and cake before the service. Readings from John 7 and Ezra 1 were read by local clergy in the Dorchester Archdeaconry and prayers were led by the Associate Archdeacon, David Tyler.
The Venerable Judy French is retiring at the end of September after eight years as Archdeacon of Dorchester. During this time, Judy has served tirelessly in her support of clergy, churchwardens, and parishes. Judy was the first Archdeacon of Dorchester and helped to form the new Archdeaconry and a strong sense of being a united and supportive entity.
Archdeaconry of Dorchester
Associate Archdeacon David Tyler will serve as Interim Archdeacon of Dorchester from 1 October, and that, also from that date, the Revd Canon Toby Wright, Rector of St Mary’s, Witney, and the Revd Helen Kendrick, Rector of the Damascus Benefice and Area Dean of Abingdon, have agreed to serve additionally as joint Acting Assistant Archdeacons to work alongside and support David.
A full photo gallery is available on the Diocese of Oxford Facebook.