New St Albans vicar is by royal appointment

Mark Dearnley

Mark Dearnley - Credit: Archant

Well-wishers from both his new and previous parish packed into a city centre church for the formal institution of the Rev Mark Dearnley.

The service was led by the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith, in front of the congregation of St Peter’s Church, supporters from his last parish, St Mary’s, Wendover, and the wider local community.

As the Vicar of St Peter’s is appointed by The Crown, Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Crown Representative, Mrs Marion Brown, read the letter patent from The Queen confirming the new appointment.

The Archdeacon of St Albans, the Ven Jonathan Smith, leading the vicar to the main west door to receive the keys of the church and then back to toll the church bell as a public sign of the start of his ministry. The story goes that the vicar will stay for the same number of years as the bell tolls.

Mark received a formal welcome from local luminaries including St Albans Mayor, Cllr Frances Leonard, before a reception took place at St Albans High School.

The new Vicar is married to Ruth and they have two grown-up children, both currently studying at university. He has been a priest for 28 years and in his spare time he enjoys cycling.

He said: “I am excited by the prospect of the new opportunities that St Peter’s represents and look forward to getting to know better the church family and St Albans community.”

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The previous Vicar of St Peter’s the Rev Anne Hollinghurst, has been appointed Bishop of Aston in the Diocese of Birmingham.