The Rev Phillipp Hamilton-Manon, Rector of St Anne’s, St Michael’s and St Thomas’s in Lewes, has retired on health grounds after 15 years’ ministry.
His last service was at the packed Harvest Evensong last week, which proved an emotional and moving farewell for both Phillipp and his parishioners whom he has served so well.
One of the congregation said he had provided unwavering pastoral care as well as being a true caretaker of St Anne’s in particular, leading the congregation in raising much-needed funds to keep this historic Lewes icon in good repair.
Much work has been done on the tower and roof and there is still much to do.
It is the oldest church remaining in Lewes, and is remarkable for its size and magnificence in what was until 1538 a small parish. The association with St Anne suggests that it may have become a centre of pilgrimage, paid for by offerings at a healing well.
The oldest parts, built in the early 12th century, are the tower (with corbels in the form of grotesque gargoyles), the nave and the south chapel.
Down the years, Phillipp has also served the wider town community well at its time of need, involving himself and the Church particularly at the time of the disastrous Lewes floods in 2000.
He has also performed the role as Chaplain to the various Mayors and served both Town and District Councils, performing regular civic duties and conducting services throughout his time.
Churchwarden Jackie Bishop said: “He has been privileged to share in so many people’s joys and sorrows and has grown to love his congregation as much as they love him.
“His kindness, sense of humour and his great gifts of compassion, empathy, humility, love and respect for his fellow humans have shown him to be a true Christian friend. He will be greatly missed by so many people in Lewes.”