NEWLY RETURNED from their happy days at All Saints’ Douglas, Isle of Man, it was great to be with Fr Marc and Julie Wolverson, and Daniel and Leah, an hour North from here, for Marc’s Institution as Vicar of Leyland St James. Warm hospitality and welcome were extended by Bishop John Goddard of Burnley, Archdeacon John Hawley, a host of local clergy and the people of St James’ who had generously gifted a banqueting table very heavily laden!

Eighteen years ago the journey took a little longer as, to have the honour of preaching at Marc and Julie’s Wedding, I had to fly to Covington, Louisiana – flying through one of the most vigorous thunder and lightning storms I’ve ever encountered and having, therefore, to land in Baton Rouge before flying on to New Orleans. But what a happy and blessed occasion that wedding was (hat-tip to Fr L Stephen Holzhalb III of Christ Church Covington, often remembered) – and meeting up with Marc’s parents again this evening was a real joy.

Bishop John spoke this evening of our shared vocations to hospitality and friendship – with God, with the World and with one another. Leyland hospitality is top-notch. And the Wolverson family are hugely gifted in the art of friendship. Looks like they, together with St James Leyland, are going to be a very happy match indeed.