Theirs must have been one of the very first weddings in the church after it was re-opened.
Their children and grandchildren were all there, and for Linda, it was a total surprise, kept secret by Alan and the family, until she met me in the church porch.
It all started a few weeks ago when a man rode up on a motorbike in the churchyard and said 'we got married here 50 years ago. Our anniversary is on the 30th and I wondered if we could do something to mark it, as a surprise for my wife.'
So it happened and what a happy celebration it was.
Next up was a double celebration for my good friend, Les Wells, made Team Rector of Horley on Saturday night, and honorary canon of Southwark Cathedral on Sunday afternoon (right).
Some time ago Les told a Men's Breakfast at St James the story of how he came to faith. His wife went into labour with their fifth child, and while they waited for the ambulance, Stephanie said 'Les, you'll have to deliver this one.'
Panic. Les decided to pray. All went well, and that tiny baby is now a big strapping young man, but Les didn't forget that he had asked for the Lord's help. So, with the older four children in tow, he came to the church, St Peter's, St Helier, where I was vicar, to give thanks.
Later all five children were baptised from the oldest to the youngest in one glorious service and Les, well he just grew and grew as a Christian.
He joined the local ministry team. He sang in the music group. He shared his faith far and wide - and in due course he was ordained and in time became the vicar of St George's Church, also on the St Helier estate. As an accomplished barber, he also cut my hair, but that is another story.
And now he has moved to Horley, and the Bishop has recognised all that Les has given as a vicar in Morden, and Area Dean of Merton, by bestowing on him the honour of making him a canon of south London's cathedral. Like me he is a south Londoner, born and bred, and that makes it really special to think of Les as one of our new canons.
|Five new canons, the Dean, and the Bishop|