CANON Peter Leonard will be licensed and welcomed as the new Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight this weekend.

Peter, who has just stepped down as Canon Chancellor at Portsmouth Cathedral, will officially take up his new role as the senior cleric on the Isle of Wight.

All are welcome to the service, which takes place at Newport Minster at 5pm on Saturday (May 18).

The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, will lead the service, which will be attended by local dignitaries including the Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff, and representatives from the Island community.

The service will feature music led by a joint choir from Portsmouth Cathedral and Newport Minster.

Canon Peter Leonard will enter the church with representatives from the cathedral, who will present him to the bishop. He will then make promises about his commitment to God, to the Church of England, and to the Isle of Wight community.

The vicar of Newport Minster, Canon Kevin Arkell, will lead the part of the service when, as Archdeacon, Peter is given a special seat — or stall — in the Minster.

Gifts representing various aspects of church and community life on the Island will be presented to the new Archdeacon.

Part of the service will involve Peter being formally introduced to church, civic and community representatives. And there will also be a glass of bubbly in the Minster after the service for a more informal chat.

Canon Peter Leonard previously served as a priest in Guildford diocese, then became a teacher and a headteacher before coming to Portsmouth Cathedral as a residentiary canon nearly five years ago.

Among his other responsibilities, he is an elected representative of diocesan clergy on the church’s national decision-making body, the General Synod.

He will succeed the Ven Peter Sutton as Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight.

Peter Sutton moved on to become priest-in-charge of four Hampshire villages — Greatham, Empshott, Hawkley and Priors Dean — last summer after six years on the Island.

Canon Peter Leonard said: “Since arriving at the cathedral five years ago I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the Island better.

"I’ve been particularly impressed by those in the churches, both lay and ordained, and their enthusiasm for sharing the love of Christ and building God’s kingdom of justice and peace.

“I have already moved to the Island, and have been overwhelmed by the warmth of welcome I have received. I am really excited about working alongside the community here in such a beautiful setting.”

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