Every Christian Counts

Sir Mark Hedley talks about his role in the Visitations this year

Having been our diocesan Chancellor since 2002, retired High Court Judge Sir Mark Hedley is looking forward to this year’s Visitation services. “it’s an important event in the year and one I have wanted to be more involved in” Sir Mark explained to Visitation News “up to now my workload in the courts has prevented me from taking a wider role so I am delighted to be able to play a full part this year”.

It was one of those happy coincidences. The Archdeacons were searching for a fresh approach for the 2014 visitation services. Our Area Deans were continuing to ask for services to be made meaningful and focussed. Clearly all things came together.

Sir Mark was keen to try something different. As a licensed reader for 38 years he is more than aware that many ministries make our churches work. Indeed, he has reflected that idea by taking a theme that Every Christian Counts for this year’s visitations. “I am keen to make this a celebration of lay leadership and highlight the positives of everyone’s service and leadership in the church and outside.”

It’s a theme which resonates for Sir Mark who has had a successful career in family law. While he can’t say for certain that his faith drove him towards that branch of the law but clearly he, or others, recognised the Christian values he brought to the law.

Sir Mark explained his view that there are three key elements to the visitation service. A gathering of information, a giving of the charge and the swearing in of church wardens. It is in the charge that he wants to bring the strong message that every Christian counts but he is keen to strip the visitation down. Each service will have that core structure but Sir Mark is keen that each deanery makes this service their own, marking the occasion in a way that makes sense in their context. “I am a blank canvas, I have no formal attire so I can be robed as the local church wants. The diocese can offer support with the liturgy but I am keen that the service reflects the flavour of the place I am coming to. I know the Area Deans have been working to make the service have that local flavour which I am really looking forward to.”

As Chancellor, Sir Mark has a close relationship with the Archdeacons and church wardens. The ultimate arbitrator of the faculty process, he works alongside Peter and Ricky to develop a flexible process that balances the missional needs of a parish with our desire to protect the heritage of our buildings.