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CHURCH: Mereworth priest moves on to transform new congregation

Tuesday 13th August 2019

A MEREWORTH church’s first female priest, who claims she finds “the most satisfaction” in hosting funerals, is moving on to help transform a new congregation.

Pat Dickin (47), of The Street, has been Priest-in-Charge at the historic Church of St Lawrence, built in 1744, for over seven-and-a-half years but says it is time to help other communities grow elsewhere.

Mrs Dickin says she finds a lot of fulfilment at funerals as they allow her to help people in their darkest moments.

She said: “I have done countless weddings at Mereworth Church, but funerals are actually where I get the most satisfaction. The church is there to walk people through a time that could potentially be very dark, but we offer hope that this isn’t the end. We like to speak hope into tragic situations.

“I think that as a society we have forgotten how to grieve. The younger you are, the harder it is because things like Facebook don’t allow us to mourn properly. We live in a time where social media tells us what to eat, wear and say.

“I have been so moved by people in the community who say I have really changed the face of the church as when I first joined we didn’t even have an email or a website, so I have really tried to bring the church into the 21st century. It’s a bit like a funeral actually, you only hear the good things once you leave. I have mixed feelings about saying goodbye and it feels really bitter sweet.”

The mother of two held her last service on August 4 and is now looking to complete her second year at the University of Winchester for her peace building and reconciliation MA degree. She lives with her husband Kevin (47) and two sons Joshua (16) and Nathan (13).

Mrs Dickin added: “What really inspired me to take on this course was the London Riots in 2012 as it really highlighted for me the impacts wars and violence have on a community.”

Pat will be licensed as Team Vicar at St Paul’s Church in Parkwood on September 5.