Vicar: Announcement made 2 July 2017
We are very pleased to be able to announce that the Bishop of Chichester has appointed the Reverend Felix Smith as the next Incumbent (Vicar) of St Michael and All Angels, Lancing.
Fr Felix is currently Assistant Curate in the Coplow Benefice and also ‘Interim-Priest-in-Charge’ of St. Hugh’s Eyres Monsell, both in the Diocese of Leicester.
In addition to the usual parochial responsibilities expected of a Curate Fr Felix has been involved with two primary schools leading Collective Worship, running the school Christian clubs and devising and leading various services during the church year, including Prayer Stations in the school and a retreat day at Launde Abbey for the children. He has acted as Chaplain to the local Fire Station and also engaged with a Youth Bus project, which sought to engage with teenagers and brought up to 25 teenagers into the church on a Monday evening. He also put together a team to engage with social action which resulted in a number of projects including a day visit to the Benefice from a number of refugees to Leicester through the charity City of Sanctuary. He is a trained Godly Play storyteller and has run a series of Godly Play children’s services to attract children and families who don’t otherwise come to church.
He was baptised and grew up within a charismatic Evangelical tradition. However, during his Divinity studies in Edinburgh, he was inspired by the worship of his local Scottish Episcopal church which began a journey of discovering the riches of the Anglo-Catholic tradition.
He trained for ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon in Oxford, which prides itself on training clergy from across the breadth of traditions within the Church of England, and encouraging flexibility of worship within a broadly Catholic ethos.
His spirituality is therefore firmly rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, although his evangelical upbringing also left him with a heart for mission. He has two Masters level degrees in Divinity and Applied Theology and is currently waiting to hear the results of a third degree in Christian Liturgy.
He is 29 years old, married to Laura and they have two children – Rosy (three) and Edie (4 months).
We hope that Fr Felix will be licensed in mid-September but until then please continue to contact the Churchwardens with any enquiries.
Honorary Assistant Priest:
Canon Michael Hart (Father Michael)
Father Michael originates from Bolton, Lancashire, but came south to train for the Priesthood at Kings College, London, and St Augustine’s College, Canterbury. Between the two colleges he had a year teaching at Bacon’s Comprehensive School in Bermondsey and also acting as Pastoral Assistant at St Mary’s, Rotherhithe.
In 1973 he was Ordained Deacon and, a year later, Priest in Durham Cathedral. After serving a three year Curacy in Sunderland he was asked to be Curate for a further two years in Burnt Oak, Hendon, London. The first parish he served as Vicar was St Luke’s, Eltham Park in the Diocese of Southwark. It was an exciting seven years seeing a church which had been under the threat of closure move to be a lively and growing church.
The Bishop asked him in 1985 to move to the Elephant and Castle to become Rector of St Mary, Newington, and Priest in Charge of St Michael, Camberwell. Both congregations grew and a Vicar was eventually appointed for St Michael’s. During his time at the Elephant and Castle his interest in evangelism increased and he was asked to be Archdeaconry Adviser in Evangelism as well as Area Dean.
After eleven years at the Elephant and Castle he moved to the North Downs as Team Rector based at St Mary, Caterham. While at Caterham a Team Ministry was established covering five parishes staffed by four full-time clergy. Once again he also became Area Dean. One of the highlights of his time at Caterham was a Parish Mission led by Bishop Stephen Cottrell. In 2001 he was made an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral, hence the red edged black cassock you will see him wearing!
In 2005 the Bishop made him Canon Missioner (for the Diocese) and Residentiary Canon at Southwark Cathedral. He greatly enjoyed both aspects of the work but found a split job difficult. In 2010 he returned to parish ministry as Team Rector of Catford (Southend) and Downham Team Ministry, where he worked with two Team Vicars and a Curate, based at St John the Baptist, Catford. It was a time of rich blessings serving the last five years before retirement in a multi cultural church, which doubled in size in five years.
After he retired, a wise priest suggested he rest from ministry for some months and attend various churches before receiving the Bishop's Permission to Officiate. Bishop Martin gave him PTO in September 2015 and he has found St Michael’s to be his new spiritual home.