Fakenham has a new rector, the Rev Francis Mason, whose previous ministry covered four parishes in Tendring, Essex.
A service of Induction, Institution and Licensing was held in Fakenham parish church conducted by the Right Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and the Venerable John Ashe, Archdeacon of Lynn.
A packed congregation of nearly 300 was welcomed by the Rural Dean, Canon Patrick Foreman, after the church choir had sung the Introit arranged by organist and choirmaster Chris Brown.
The formalities of the ceremony included oaths of allegiance by the new incumbent, his acceptance of the deed of institution and licensing, the receiving of the grand old key to the church door, the tolling of the bell to mark the beginning of a new ministry and the acceptance of the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible from parishioners in Fakenham and Fulmodeston, where he has become the priest-in-charge.
The bishop reminded Rev Mason that following the success of Norwich City earlier in the week he had now come to join a Premier League diocese.
He thanked the churchwardens, the lay readers and the retired clergy for their commitment in maintaining the life of the two churches over the 12 months of the Interregnum.
He well knew that Fakenham was a very busy church at the centre of life in the town and was confident that this connection would continue in the future.
The Rev Mason is married to Gill and they moved into the Rectory on Gladstone Road towards the end of May.
In his response, he said: ‘The welcome we have already received here has been remarkable. I must also thank so many of the Tendring communities for being at this service on our behalf. We are looking forward to being a part of the Premier diocese.”
Fakenham churchwarden Alison Harding said: “It was a wonderful service and a grand occasion.
“We have had nothing but praise for our organisation of the service and the reception afterwards.
“A senior clergyman told me he had been to dozens of Inductions in the past and this was by far the best. We are all looking forward to working with Francis and Gill.”
Fulmodeston churchwarden Stephen Miles was also delighted. “The service was very moving and everyone seemed to have a great time.”