On Sunday 8th March, it will be one hundred and fifty years ago to the day sine the Rt. Revd. Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester, and son of the anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce, conducted a service of dedication and consecration at our newly-built parish church here in Colbury. To mark this occasion and to celebrate thr role played by the church in the lives of local people for all those years, the current Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Revd. Tim Dakin, is coming to lead a Service of Thanksgiving. While here, the Bishop will also dedicate a memorial Stone to commemorate the former residents of the Ashurst Workhouse who are buried in unmarked graves in the churchyard.
Bishop Wilberforce came to Christ Church, Colbury towards the end of his energetic and sometimes controversial life. he was to die after falling from a horse in 1873 at the age of 67. During his life, he served as a Chaplain to Prince Albert, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and at a famous public debate with T H Huxley challenged the argument of Darwin’s Origin of Species on scientific rather than religious grounds. in contrast to a highly active and influential public life, he is believed to have been at heart a tender, sympathetic sincere man. How fascinating it would be if we could be a fly on the wall at the Consecration Service here in Colbury in 1870 and see how he conducted himself with local people.
Compared to many parish churches, Colbury is still very young but even so the changes in the life, shape and population of the parsih have been enormous. The Bishop’s visit on March 8th will mark the start of a year of special events, including concerts, a flower festival and something festive at Christmas. while many of you will have stepped into the Church Rooms, there are those who have never set foot inside the church itself, though many local children will have done so on school visits. We hope to offer various opportunites this year for people to do this.
Please take this as an invitation to watch out for special events this year and to come along and support us as often as you like during 2020, a significant year in the life of the parish church of Colbury and Ashurst.