A civic service marking Andy Rhind-Tutt one year as Mayor took place today at Amesbury
Abbey Church, led by Canon Simon Wilkinson
Bex and I were invited along and attended the ceremony as guests. We considered this
to be a great honour, and a mark of how strong our bond of friendship with the Amesbury
community has become over the last year.
We decided to wear green robes to show both respect and neutrality for the occasion.
Formal civic functions held in church are not familiar territory for us we were a
little anxious how we would be received by the Christian congregation.
To their great credit we were made to feel most welcome.
It isn’t always easy for people of different faiths to share things in this way but
it should be. If we look to the good within each other and forgive the past mistakes
on all sides then we have a chance together to forge the kind of world that we all
aspire to be a part of.
We are one community made up of diversity.
The Abbey church is a beautiful building, inside of which the ceremony started with
the playing of bagpipes, a procession, and beautiful choir supported by one of the
finest organs I have ever heard. Very different to the generally rough and ready
Druid ceremony but no less impressive for that. It is easy for pagans to forget that
there are many things that the Church does very well, and this kind of celebration
is one of them.
The hymns of the church tradition have great spiritual power and involve everyone.
The joining together with music is something that we have mostly lost touch with
in Pagan ceremony. As a child my parents took me to church a lot, but as an adult
walking my chosen path as a Druid I was surprised to identify a sense of loss at
not being able to join in this aspect of ceremony where the words were no longer
a match to my beliefs.
This was as much a celebration of the progress that has been made by the town as
it was of Andy’s leadership this last year. This has included Amesbury getting historic
status (together with striking new road signs), opening of the Forge Gallery, establishing
the Amesbury Heritage Trust, great discoveries at the Vaspaisians camp mesolithic
dig site dating Amesbury to at least 6250 BC, rediscovery of our Royal Heritage with
Queen Eleanor, a great Carnival, visit from Bolivian Ambassador, Community participation
in the cultural olympiad, and the Amesbury 2012 project to name just a few.
Essentially the community has pulled together. It has been fun, it has made a difference
and Amesbury is now striding towards a vibrant future. Well done Andy Rhind-Tutt
but also well done to all those from the town who put the effort in.
Amesbury Abbey Church
Ambassador Beatriz visits Stonehenge and Amesbury May 2011
Amesbury Carnival, Aes Dana open the even with Andy
Winter Solstice Eve 2011 - Lantern Parade
Left, Andy at the opening of the Amesbury Museum April 2012