The Revd Dr Andrew Walker has been instituted and inducted as Vicar of St Mary’s, Bourne Street by the Acting Bishop of London, The Rt Rev’d Pete Broadbent.
Following a service of Solemn Evensong, Bishop Pete instituted Fr Andrew whilst the Venerable Luke Miller, Archdeacon of London, carried out the induction. In his sermon, Bishop Pete focused on the parish’s confidence in the future – looking forward and outward, the power of unity, and a shared vocation to help build the Kingdom of God. He paid tribute to the work of Fr Neil Bunker in the parish in recent years.
As Vicar, Fr Andrew will build upon the work of Fr Neil to take forward the life of the parish, working to enlarge the congregation, particularly attracting younger members, and increasing the ministry of teaching.
Following the service, Andrew Walker said: “Being installed as Vicar at St Mary’s is a huge privilege and I look forward to working with the St Mary’s community of faithful laity and clergy in their witness to catholic Anglicanism, and its contribution to fine liturgy, music and pastoral and spiritual outreach.”
Bishop Pete Willesden, Acting Bishop of London, said: “It was a joy to institute Fr Walker to this historic place of Anglican catholic worship. He brings intellectual rigour, spiritual depth and pastoral insight to his role as parish priest – and we have prayed for a new beginning for the parish as together they build on their heritage and seek a renewed engagement with the mission of God.”
Fr Andrew was ordained in 1985 following his first degree at St Chad’s College, Durham and ordination training at St Stephen’s House. Since then he has worked in parish ministry while additionally being founder director of the London Centre for Spirituality. Prior to his appointment to St Mary’s Bourne Street, he divided his time between being Director of the Healing and Counselling Centre associated with St Marylebone parish church and duties as Honorary Assistant Priest in the parish of St Paul and St Michael and all Angels, Brighton. His books Journey into Joy is published by SPCK, and On Retreat by Bloomsbury.
St Mary’s functions both as a parish church within the Two Cities Area of the Diocese of London and as the focus of anglo-catholic worship for a large and loyal congregation from further afield.
Last year, St Mary’s hosted a series of lectures to re-establish its reputation as a focus for intellectual thought in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England. Four lectures were delivered, each in memory of an outstanding individual associated with the church, namely: Lord Halifax, Dr Eric Mascall, Fr John Gilling and David Trendell. The distinguished speakers were: The Revd Canon Chris Chivers, Principal of Westcott House; Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College Cambridge; Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court and Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music.
St Mary’s was built in 1874 to the design of the architect R.J. Withers as a daughter church to St Paul’s, Knightsbridge. It is Grade II* listed. The centre of the church is constructed over massive beams spanning the cutting built for the extension of the Underground to Sloane Square.
The service was followed by a reception to celebrate Fr Andrew’s installation.