AFTER seven years, around 300 baptisms and 150 marriages Reverend Tony Bryer will lead his final service at St Lawrence Church in Towcester this Sunday at 10.30am
On Monday, removal vans will arrive to transport his family and the contents of their home to his new post.
Of the seven ministries Rev Bryer has served in during the 36 years since his ordination, Towcester was the first in a predominately rural area. He is now going back to a more familiar urban setting with a ministry in Edinburgh city centre providing spiritual guidance to the businesses and department stores in and around Princes Street.
Rev Bryer said although congregations were falling everywhere, the central role of the church in Towcester was still important to people. He said hundreds attended community services such as harvest festival and Remembrance Day and expects to see around 1,500 people over Christmas. He added: “I think in this area, despite not being regularly involved with the church, religion does have a significant place in people’s lives.”
Rev Bryer said he was attracted to apply for the job in Towcester knowing that he would be expected to get involved with the community and forge links with everyone from members of the local authority to young families, while maintaining a congregation of regular worshippers.
He said: “Part of the attraction was that South Northants Council wanted work placement chaplaincy and they asked the bishop to consider someone who had been doing that already.”
Rev Bryer said he will miss the tight-knit community of south Northants and added: “I think the ministry here is very much about community. We are working with people who are very much local and there are ongoing relationships. I can’t walk around in Towcester without being greeted by someone, usually children.”
Church warden and deputy mayor David Linney said: “Everybody in the church wishes him the best for his new post. He has been a really good leader of the church and the benefice which is fairly new.
“He has really pulled people together and he will be sadly missed. Hopefully we can find a replacement to carry on his fine work.”