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‘I’m very lucky’: Priest celebrates 33 years at Gospel Oak church

Bishop says people look to Father David Houlding for leadership

08 October, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Father David cuts his cake with Bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker and Mayor Jenny Headlam-Wells

HUNDREDS gathered at a church in Gospel Oak on Saturday to celebrate the work of the borough’s longest-serving parish priest, writes Helen Chapman. Father David Houlding has served as the vicar at the All Hallows’ Church for 33 years.

He first became a priest in 1978 at St Alban’s, Holborn. Bishops from across the country and friends from as far as South Africa flocked to the Grade II-listed building on Shirlock Road to mark the occasion on Michaelmas Day.

Father David said: “It brings people together and it’s about community. There are so many people who are involved in some way who came to the event. People come out of the woodwork and say ‘do you remember me?’ It’s very humbling, wonderful and very rewarding. I’m very lucky.” Martin Warner, Lord Bishop of Chichester, said: “In his role he has displayed generosity and expansiveness of hospitality to other people. He has brought courtesy and clarity to the role. And in evangelicalism I can think of nothing more important than generosity and expansiveness of our openness to other people.”

Bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker said: “That gift of leadership is some­thing Father David has. Many look to him for his leadership. To have Father David in the clergy is a grace and a privilege.”

Mayor Jenny Headlam-Wells raised a toast to Father David. She said: “Father David is the longest-serving parish priest in the borough of Camden, which is quite an achievement. “I can also speak from personal experience – 15 years ago he read the banns to my daughter’s marriage. Since then he has conducted two baptisms, two confirmations and a funeral. And that’s just one family in 15 years. “Just think how many lives have been touched in 40 years.”

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