It has been announced today (Sunday 17 February) that Peter Sanlon will be stepping down as vicar of St. Mark’s Church in Tunbridge Wells.
This is so that he can be received into the Free Church of England, as Rector of Emmanuel Church, Tunbridge Wells.
His last service at St. Mark’s will be on Easter Sunday.
The Free Church of England is a Christian church in the Anglican tradition, committed to the authority of the Bible as the inspired Word of God; it is a designated Church with which the Church of England has had formal ecumenical relations since 1992.
The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge says:
“My prayers and good wishes go with Peter and his family as they take this next step together.
“As a Diocese, our utmost concern is for the pastoral care for Peter and his family, as well as for the parish of St. Mark’s, which remains a parish within the Church of England. We have therefore worked with Peter to support this transition in as pastoral and supportive a way as possible.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Peter as we develop our ecumenical friendship in the Tunbridge Wells area.”
Peter’s move will allow him to take on full-time ministerial responsibility for Emmanuel Anglican Church.
Speaking about his reception into the Free Church of England the Reverend Dr Peter Sanlon says:
“This decision has been part of a process of prayerful discernment through which I believe I am called to continue ministry in Tunbridge Wells. Being asked to serve as the full-time minister of Emmanuel Anglican Church is an exciting invitation to build up a ministry that has already begun to bear fruit.
“I would like to thank Archdeacon Julie Conalty, Bishop James Langstaff and the Diocese of Rochester for their support and I look forward to the new opportunities this ministry will bring.”
The Rt Reverend James Langstaff, The Bishop of Rochester says:
“This move is a positive one for Peter in the context of his developing calling as a minister.”
“As he is received into the Free Church of England we look forward to our continued working with him in our shared commission to share with people the good news of Jesus Christ.”
“I thank God for his years of faithful ministry within the Church of England and pray that his continuing ministry will be fruitful.”
As is usual for any parish entering a period of vacancy, a process of consultation and discernment will now begin with the PCC and congregation of St. Mark’s Church as to their own future mission and ministry.