Town welcomes new rector with large ceremony

Rich Henderson is the new rector of Beccles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Rich Henderson is the new rector of Beccles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A stalwart of the Beccles community has seen his years of dedication pay off as he was installed as the new rector of the town.

Rev Rich Henderson was made the 49th rector of Beccles last Sunday.

A large congregation including mayor Richard Stubbings and representatives of the town council attended the ceremony at St Michael’s Church, in New Market, along with Rev Henderson’s family and friends.

The installation was performed by the Archdeacon of Suffolk, the Venerable Ian Morgan.

Rev Henderson was proud to accept the new role and said: “I want the community to feel this is their church.

“It’s somewhere people can come any time, any day and just pray or be quiet.

He added: “I want the place to be used. I don’t want it to be empty.”

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The installation came almost two years to the day that Rev Henderson became priest in charge of St Michael’s and St Luke’s.

During the service the Archdeacon explained the differences between Rev Henderson’s previous role and the one he has just taken on.

He said a rector is a much more secure position for both the parish of Beccles and Rev Henderson, while a priest in charge can be moved to another parish by the Diocese at any time.

This added security has been welcomed by Rev Henderson who “fell in love with the town” during his curacy from 2006 to 2009.

During these initial years in Beccles he became a valued member of the Ministry Team and became ordained at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral – first as a deacon, and a year later as a priest.

Following on from his time as a curate Rev Henderson spent seven years in Reydon.

In 2016, with the departure of Rev John Beauchamp, he jumped at the chance to return the town.

Rev Henderson is the 49th priest to hold the position of Beccles rector.

The first was Robert Filius Rogeri, who held the appointment from 1291 to 1314.

Rev Henderson is happily married to wife Sarah, with whom he has three children and two young granddaughters.