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Friday, 25 June 2010

Canon Ray Jones Retires from St George's Ypres

St George's Memorial Church, Ypres, Belgium, was packed last Sunday for a special service of Evensong to mark the retirement of the Revd Canon Ray Jones. Clergy from Belgium, military personnel, representatives of the city of Ypres and province of West Flanders, ecumenical guests and many laity from St George's and neighbouring congregations came to say farewell. A choir from Dartford Parish Church sang the service.

After the Great War, St George's was built as a memorial to those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in WWI. It has, over the years, become a place of pilgrimage for veterans, relatives of the fallen and in recent years, schoolchildren. Fr Ray has helped to develop a unique spiritual role for St George's, to deepen the experience of those who come to visit these battlefields, and to challenge them to search for God’s will for peace and reconciliation for humankind.

Prior to coming to St George's 10 years ago, Fr Ray served as a priest in Fuengirola, Spain. He has been a Diocesan Vocations Advisor and Reader Selector, conducting many discernment interviews with those who are testing their vocation to ordained or lay ministry. He has served on the Diocesan Synod and the Diocesan Communications Committee. Fr Ray also retires from being Area Dean of Belgium. Although Fr Ray has moved to his home in the Isle of Wight, happily, we will not lose touch with him as he will continue locum ministry duties in our diocese.

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