Saturday, 05 May 2012 15:21

Farewell to the Vicar of Chobham

Written by
Andrew and Pippa Body Andrew and Pippa Body

The Vicar of Chobham, Andrew Body, and his wife, Pippa, have moved from Chobham after 15 years in the village.

Andrew’s final Sunday at St Lawrence Church before his retirement was at the end of April when there was a joint service with Chobham's sister church, St Saviour, Valley End. It was an occasion full of emotion, followed by a farewell lunch for him and Pippa at a packed St Lawrence School Hall.

For the congregation of St Saviour, Valley End, it meant not only saying farewell to their vicar, but also to their organist... Pippa, Andrew's wife. For many years Pippa was also a piano teacher in Chobham.

Andrew and Pippa have moved to Ludlow in Shropshire.

The process for appointing a new vicar is under way - see - but it will be a few month's before someone is in post.

A short history of Andrew

This was an article written for The Wey in 2011 when Andrew celebrate 40 years as a priest.
Andrew was ordained at Manchester Cathedral in 1971, and started his ministry in the Manchester Diocese, firstly as curate of St James’ Bury and then as the first incumbent of a new parish of St Martin's Droylsden.
He moved across the Pennines to Yorkshire as Vicar of St Mary Low Harrogate, where he also did a stint as Chaplain for National Power Northern HQ. Andrew and Pippa's four children, who share their parents musicality, grew up while they were in Yorkshire, n a very musical vicarage.
From this urban parish of 9,000 souls, the family moved to Wiltshire as Team Rector of Redhorn, a country parish of five churches serving seven villages. He came to Surrey and Chobham in 1997. For Pippa, it was a homecoming, as she had grown up down the road in Horsell.
Andrew wryly observes the common assumption that clergy inhabit a cosy world, a little cut-off from real life. But, like many parish priests, there have been times, dotted among the gentler rythmn of people’s joys and sadnesses, of life and natural death, of extreme distress and rawness.
“My ministry has included being alongside a newly-married couple, one of whose fathers had just murdered his wife, holding the hand of a man who has just drunk bleach to kill himself, and was refusing to let anyone else go near him – he was carrying a knife –or sitting whilst a couple bathe the body of their severely handicapped baby who had just died the night before she would have been baptised. The world has been all too real on occasions like that. Fortunately ministry has also been far more a time of sharing days of great happiness and hope.”
Bishop Christopher spoke of Andrew’s many additional ministries... music, hymn-writing, marriage counselling, marriage and family teaching, and children and disability support.
Andrew Carol Singing in 1999
Andrew Carol Singing in 1999
Andrew’s musical gifts and his wonderful singing voice have enriched worship in all the parishes he has served.
Although Chobham Festival was already established by the time he came to the parish, he has been a great encourager of this “jewel” of the village calendar. He instituted the Thomas of Chobham lecture, held in honour of Thomas of Chobham, a 12th century cleric and leading theologian and moral philosopher of his day.
Lecturers have included Jonathan Aitken, David Puttnam and Terry Waite, whose visit to Chobham saw the church so full that people were standing in the porch to hear him.
Andrew has been married to Pippa for more than 40 years and they now have four children and three grandchildren.
As a champion of family life, Andrew was a Relate Counsellor for 30 years and was also a Founder Trustee and then chairman of FLAME (Family Life and Marriage Education). He has run seminars on marriage for several dioceses, and continues to take part in clergy training at Cuddesdon in Oxford.
He is Author of Growing Together (it has so far sold 8,000 copies) and three other books on Marriage for Church House Publishing. He and Pippa compiled a Pocket Prayers for Marriage.
Jennifer Britt

Jennifer is a regular contributor to Chobham.Net and is also the webmaster of the St Lawrence & St Saviour Chobham Parish website.

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