"Now, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, + sanctify this place; for everything in heaven and on earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; and you are exalted as head over all." These words were part of the festive liturgy when on Saturday 16 February a new church building for St Mark's Versailles was dedicated. The service began with prayers outside the church, until at one moment the doors were formally opened and the threshold marked with the sign of the cross.
There has been a Church of England congregation in Versailles since 1814. Now, almost 200 years after the first records of services, St Mark’s congregation has a new building, fitting for its worship. More than 250 people gathered for the formal opening and dedication service.
|Assistant Chaplain, the Revd Elaine Labourel (left). Chaplain, the Revd Chris Maclay (right)|
The Chaplain, the Revd Chris MacLay and the Assistant Chaplain, the Revd Elaine Labourel, were joined by many former clergy of St Mark’s, representatives of the Intercontinental Church Society, (the parish patron) as well as some of the priests from Anglican parishes in the Greater Paris area. Many former parishioners journeyed from far away to attend the service. They recalled the dream from many years back of having this new facility (architectural plans were first drawn up in 1988) and wished to be part of the historic opening ceremony. The spacious, bright and welcoming new church is completely paid for! A testimony to the generosity and stewardship of parishioners and other donors.
Long-time church member, Mr Peter Milner, prepared a historical review of St Mark’s, highlighting many moments from the past. He noted that “the real history of St Mark’s is one of a church that has welcomed and comforted those who have felt the need of help in a foreign land. It has brought many individuals to know God and others to a deeper faith”. “This is the legacy of St Mark’s”, Peter said. “Let it continue for the next 200 years and beyond”.