Church-goers in a Peterborough parish have launched a campaign to keep their vicar after it was revealed he could be leaving.
The Rev. Sid Bridges has been at Holy Trinity Church in Orton Longueville for four years, having completed his training at the church.
But he could be moved to another post by the Diocese of Ely, who said it was ‘standard practice’ to move vicars on to a bigger patch after they have finished their training.
A petition has now been set up to keep Rev Sid at the church by Lisa Ellingham.
Lisa said:” We don’t want to lose him.
“He is Bridges by name, and Bridges by nature as he has built so many bridges in the community during his time here.
“He really brings everyone together.
“We have not been given a reason why he is leaving.”
The online petition set up by Lisa already has more than 700 signatures and, Lisa said she had more signatures in a physical petition as well.
She said; “He came here four years ago as curate, and traind and qualified here.
“We don’t want someone new.
“He is always doing something here. He and his wife do an awful lot.
“He was chaplain at the Botolph Festival, he is chaplain at the Posh Academy, and he spends a lot of time visiting the old people’s home.
“He is everywhere in the community.He has been a breath of fresh air for everyone. The amount of signatures we have collected shows how much he us wanted here.”
A number of the signatories on the petition agree with Lisa’s sentiments.
David Reason said: “Sid has brought life and love to this little parish of ours. We really need someone with energy, wit and understanding, that person is Sid. Not only a great priest but a good mate as well.”
Angie McClean added: “They deserve to stay here, they have brought so much to the community and as you say, made church ‘cool’ again. The whole family would be so missed.”
And Tracy Fletcher said: “I signed because Sid and Deb are the true definition of what community is all about, they embrace everyone from any walk of life and give 100% to their community and more, the kids are fabulous too and the whole family should be shown the respect that they have given out by being able to stay where they love and are loved, the school just wouldn’t be the same without them either.Please do the right thing and let them stay in the community they have served so well.”
No-one at Holy Trinity church would comment, saying it was a matter for the Diocese of Ely.
A spokesman for the Diocese said: “It is standard Church of England practice to License a curate to continue their training in a parish for a defined period of time, after which they are expected to move to a substantial post in another community where their gifts will be used.”
The petition is available at www.change.org/p/the-bishop-of-ely-rt-revd-stephen-conway-please-help-us-to-save-our-rev-sid