Fr Edwin Barnes, 1935-2019

February 11th, 2019

We were sorry to hear of the death of former Rector of Farncombe, Fr Edwin Barnes, on the eve of his 84th birthday a few days ago. Fr Edwin came to Farncombe in 1967 after serving curacies in Portsmouth and Woodham, and at the age of 32 was a huge contrast to Charles Allingham, who had retired having been Rector since 1946. Edwin ushered in an era of great change in the church, adopting modern liturgy, reordering the interior of the building, and generally cementing a ‘modern Catholic’ identity for St John’s. It was Edwin who brought about our friendly relationship with the Roman Catholic congregation, allowing them to use the church for Sunday services. He moved in 1979 to Hessle in Newcastle, and then became Principal of St Stephen’s House in Oxford, one of the Church of England’s training colleges for priests. Edwin¬†was appointed a ‘flying bishop’ to minister to congregations who opposed the ordination of women as priests in the Anglican Church, and retained this role until retiring. Eventually, when the Church of England voted to appoint women bishops, Edwin’s search for certainty took him into the Roman Catholic Church and he spent his last years ministering in retirement to a group of congregations around Lymington, where he and his wife Jane had gone to live. Later on they moved to Salisbury. It was wonderful that they were both able to return to Farncombe in 2014 for the service celebrating the 40th anniversary of our sharing the church with the Roman Catholics, and in December last year for Corinne Cooper’s funeral.¬† He was a good and faithful servant of God and we honour his memory and pray for his entry into eternal glory!

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