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Beloved priest retires after over fifty years in ministry
REV Anthony Smyth, a beloved figure in the ministry, has retired after a remarkable career spanning several decades.
The final service to honour his dedicated service took place on Sunday 14th May. Having retired from full-time ministry in 2005, Smyth continued to bless St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, as a retired clergyman for 17 years. The congregation took the opportunity to express their gratitude during the 9:30 am service, where Smyth presided.
Anthony’s illustrious career has left an indelible mark on various communities and countries. From 1966 to 1969, he served as an Assistant Curate at St George in Worthing under the Chichester Diocese. His dedication then took him to Chile, where he held various positions, including Bishop’s Chaplain. His role also involved organising a visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey. In 1974 and 1975, he served as a locum in Peru, filling in for Bishop Flagg during his leave.
From 1975 to 1980, Smyth served as Curate in Charge at St James in the Woodley parish, part of the Oxford Diocese. He later became the Vicar of St Ethelburga in West St Leonard's from 1980 to 1993, under the Chichester Diocese. Smyth’s next appointment was as the Rector of Stopham & Fittleworth from 1993 to 2005. Following his retirement, he held Permission to Officiate (PtO) in both Chichester diocese from 2005 to 2020 and Portsmouth diocese from 2005 to 2023.
Anthony also served in two other significant roles: from 1989 to 2003, he was appointed as the First Secretary of the Chichester Diocesan European Ecumenical Committee, and between 1991 and 1996 he was selected by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to be a member of the Meissen Commission, responsible for overseeing relations with the German Evangelical (Protestant) Churches.
During Anthony’s final service, the congregation paid tribute to his impactful journey. He received a painting depicting the church and town square, a potted rose for his garden, and a heartfelt monetary gift. His family joined the service, and his grandchildren participated by presenting the collection. The celebration continued with a delightful cake and coffee gathering, allowing the community to honour the extraordinary contributions of Rev Anthony Smyth. The community of St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, wishes him and his wife, Alison, a joyful and serene retirement.