COMMUNITY leaders came together to reflect and celebrate life at an annual civic service in a historic setting.
St Mary’s Church, in the grounds of Portchester Castle, hosted the occasion following the appointment of Fareham’s new mayor Cllr David Norris and mayoress Pamela Norris.
The event saw a procession followed by a service with prayers, hymns and readings.
Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, and Cllr Norris read extracts from the Bible and the crowd joined in with hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty and All Things Bright and Beautiful and sang the national anthem.
Rev Dr Ian Meredith led a prayer supporting the work of politicians and organisations in the borough, as well as those who defend the country.
‘We shall pray for all who live and who work in this borough, in particular with children and young people,’ he said.
‘We shall remember those associated with this borough who serve in the armed forces of the crown and who bring order and law to our common life.’
Mr Meredith said there had been a connection between the church and state for ‘centuries’ and there were similarities in the behaviour of councillors and clergy.
‘Often the basis of the borough functions with little problems, except with the odd spat between councillors, who like the clergy really do like one another,’ he said.
The service, held yesterday, was attended by councillors, clergy, citizens of honour as well as mayors from surrounding districts.
Cllr Woodward spoke of his pride at being there.
‘The link between civic and church is very important to a lot of people,’ he said.
‘Councillors give a proportion of their time voluntarily and the church gives a great deal of its time voluntarily.
‘Despite what people might say, this is a Christian country still and it’s right the year should be crowned with a civic service.’
The service was followed by a reception a Portchester Parish Hall where people got together to chat.
Cllr Norris said: ‘It was good for the people of Portchester to see who their mayor is.
‘It was also a good occasion for the vicar there as his address was very good.
‘Events like this bring people together and gives them an opportunity to find out what the council is doing and trying to do.’