New interim priest administrator appointed at the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
He is Father Philip Barnes, who is currently Vicar of the Parish of St Edmund the King, Northwood Hills and Area Dean of Harrow in the Diocese of London,
Master of the guardians of the shrine, Dr Martin Warner, said today that the guardians were “absolutely delighted” that Fr Barnes, a former shrine priest at the Norfolk Shrine, had agreed to fulfil this interim role from the end of January 2016.
“Fr Philip Barnes knows the Shrine and the village extremely well,” he said. “The guardians were looking for exactly the right person to move the shrine forward as interim administrator.
“So we were absolutely delighted when he responded so positively to our invitation,” said Dr Warner, who is Bishop of Chichester.
Fr Barnes served as the Shrine Priest in Walsingham between 2003 until 2008. This interim appointment is aimed at ensuring continuity of leadership at the shrine during a transitional period in which the guardians seek to appoint a permanent administrator. That appointment is expected to be made next year.
Fr Barnes said: “I have loved being a parish priest and an Area Dean, but I know that the opportunities and challenges as interim administrator will stand me in good stead for future ministry.”
“Times of transition are opportunities for renewal and growth, and I am looking forward to working with the guardians and staff at the Shrine to steer its ministry through the 2016 season and into a new era.
“Walsingham is a place I love very dearly, and whilst saying farewell to my present parish will be very difficult I am excited by the prospect of a return to Norfolk and to England’s Nazareth.”
Fr Barnes, who is a keen walker, looks forward to being back on the footpaths of North Norfolk and hopes a newly found love of gardening might be put to good use on occasion in the beautiful shrine grounds.
The post at Walsingham has been vacant since the start of September following the departure of Bishop Lindsay Urwin OGS to his native Australia to take up new responsibilities there.
Fr Barnes will be licensed in Walsingham by the Bishop of Norwich on in January.