New Petworth priest set to join the community

Three Generations of Priests - New Petworth Canon Mark Gilbert (right) with his Dad, Father Fred Gilbert and Son, Fr Sean Gilbert PICTURE BY JIM HOLDEN
Three Generations of Priests - New Petworth Canon Mark Gilbert (right) with his Dad, Father Fred Gilbert and Son, Fr Sean Gilbert PICTURE BY JIM HOLDEN

The congregation in Petworth has welcomed a new priest.

The Rev Canon Mark Gilbert was welcomed into his role of priest in charge of Petworth and Egdean by the bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner.

Rev Gilbert has been ordained as a priest for 27 years, and was previously the vicar of St Wilfrid’s Church, Chichester, rural dean of Chichester and chairman of the House of Clergy in the diocese.

Mr Gilbert and his wife Margaret, a teacher at Seaford College, have three children, Timothy, Ellen and Sean. And it is very much a family tradition – both his father, Fred, and son Sean are also priests.

“I was ordained deacon in 1987 and priest in 1988 and served two curacies in the Chester Diocese before moving to Sussex,” said the Rev Gilbert.

“In 1992, I was appointed as rector of Tangmere and Oving where we lived for nine years.

“In March 2001, we moved to Graffham where I was made priest in charge of Graffham and chaplain to Seaford College.

“In 2009, I was asked by the bishop to consider going to St Wilfrid’s Chichester and help to develop links with Bishop Luffa School.

“We have been very happy both in Tangmere and Oving and the eight years we lived in Graffham and at Seaford College and for the six-and-a-half years as parish priest to St Wilfrid’s.

“I was the rural dean of Chichester until September 4.

“Tim, our eldest son, is a languages teacher at Durrington while Sean has just been ordained deacon to serve in the diocese at Christ Church St Leonards, and Ellen, our daughter, has just finished at Seaford College and is going to study art at Canterbury.

“I am very involved in the diocese, being chairman of the House of Clergy and on General Synod.

“It is a great honour the bishop has appointed me to be a canon of Chichester Cathedral and I will be installed on October 11.

“We are very much looking forward to living here in the benefice of St Mary’s and St Bartholomew’s and being involved in all aspects of parish and community life.”

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