A VICAR in Frecheville has celebrated a very special anniversary - the 40th year since he was ordained.
The Reverend Mike Gillingham, of St Cyprian’s Church, said the role was a great ‘privilege’ after the Right Reverend Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, visited the church for a special service to mark the occasion.
Dr Croft said: “I was delighted to be able to be with Mr Gillingham as he celebrates 40 years since he was ordained priest.
“He has served most of his ministry in the Diocese of Sheffield and the parish of Frecheville and it was good to be able to join members of the parish, his family and friends for this milestone event.”
Mr Gillingham, aged 66, was ordained in Cardiff, where he was born. He spent several years working in Wales for the church and as a youth worker, where he met wife Betty.
In 1983, he moved to Sheffield as vicar at St Andrew’s, Low Manor, and in 1988 he came to Frecheville.
Both roles have seen him play a key part in community projects and campaigns – although the job has changed a lot in 40 years.
Mr Gillingham, who is soon to become a grandfather, said: “The role of a priest, celebrating the Eucharist, is important and also you get to share with people very important moments in their lives.
“You also bring the word of God into people’s lives when they are feeling vulnerable and need that love. To be able to do that is a great privilege.
“When you have been part of a place for a long while, you become part of it.
“So there are lots of things you get the chance to do, people stop you in the street and tell you how they’re getting on and that’s great, because it means you can help people sometimes just by going down to the shops
“Being a reverend is what you are as well as what you do.”