Hallam Ascent recently invited Father Ian Grieves from Darlington to talk about his personal journey from Anglican priest to joining the Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham. Below is an account of his presentation.
After leaving school, he went to Durham University for four years, where he studied music and took a teaching qualification. Durham was a high church environment, so when he went to see the bishop, he was advised to go away and test his vocation for 3 years. He taught RE and was a Housemaster in a Prep School in Sussex where they asked him to do the music as well. The Bishop then sent him to a selection conference for four days, at the end of which they sent him to a Seamen’s Mission in Swansea for a year. He passed the next selection conference and was sent to study at the Theological College in Chichester for two years. In 1984 he was ordained deacon and sent to St Mark’s in Darlington for three years followed by three years in Gateshead where the Metro Centre was being built. He was then appointed to his first parish in Darlington. His second parish was St James in Darlington – a very poor parish which needed considerable work on the church and hall. Over the years this was done at great expense but they also had to contend with a high Diocesan levy.
They had prided themselves on a daily Mass and when Pope Benedict announced the formation of the Ordinariate, the Church Council urged him to apply as they told him ‘this was made for us’. They held an Open Day for the whole parish. It was a total leap of faith as they would leave the Anglican church with nothing – no church and no income. They took a lot of time preparing for the change, including setting up a trust to manage gift aid and other donations to enable them to continue. Bishop Justin Welby came and preached at the last Mass before they moved to St Anne’s, Darlington. Afterwards, St Osmund’s at Gainford became vacant and they moved there. They have a Parish Mass at 9.30 and a Solemn Mass at 11.30 with parish social events once a month on a Friday. They take their music very seriously. Mass often features music by composers such Haydn, Mozart and Palestrina, with Anthems during Holy Communion and an Organ Voluntary to process out to after the Dismissal.