Northampton church celebrates the diamond anniversary of Father Peter Garlick

Father Peter Garlick celebrated 60 years in the priesthood on Saturday. Pictured right as a 25-year-old deacon in 1958.
Father Peter Garlick celebrated 60 years in the priesthood on Saturday. Pictured right as a 25-year-old deacon in 1958.

A Northampton church celebrated the life of their honourary priest this weekend on the 60th anniversary of his life in the priesthood.

Father Peter Garlick was honoured at a special service St Matthew's Church in Kingsley Park Terrace on Saturday (June 8).

The Anglican priest was ordained in Bristol Cathedral in 1959 but has served in parishes across the country and has been a minister in Northampton for 30 years.

He spoke to the Chronicle and Echo about how the role of a priest has changed with modern times but how it has never strayed from helping people in his parish one person at a time.

"It was an overwhelming day on Saturday," said Peter. "People have been so kind and generous.

"It was a shock to see so many people from so many stages of my life. People came up to me and reminded me of tings from the past, both times of crisis and times of joy.

"A great part of the priest's life is with people and the other part of it is with God.

"It was a wonderful service. We party well and we worship well. Jesus was a great party man. He often talked of parties as part of his kingdom."

Peter began his service with the church in 1958 in Swindon, where he also met his wife Christine.

His ministry saw him serve in Bristol, London, the island of Saint Kitts off Puerto Rico, Lancashire and Manchester.

He arrived in Northampton in 1979 to be the vicar of Saint Luke and Saint Francis in Duston.

Since his retirement at 60, he has been named an honorary canon of Peterborough Cathedral and is a serving honorary priest of Saint Matthew, in Kingsley.

"I think of myself as the odd job man of St Matthews," he said.

"One change I've noticed over the years is how many people are not so aware of the clergy or what we do.

"As clergy, we have many close relationships with many people. But you never know how what you've said and done has affected people's lives.

"So the important thing is to listen. You can have someone pour out their heart to you and they tell you thank you for listening.

"It means a priest's life is quite a hidden thing. The old joke is we only work one day a week. But in truth, our life is to listen to one person at a time and hold what they say to you in confidence.

"It is the secret way God works through people and shows them his love.

"It is a great privilege to me to be a priest."