At a special service at All Hallows last night (Wednesday 16th May) The Reverend David Michael Roche was licenced as ‘Priest in Charge of the Benefice of Whitchurch with Tufton and Lichfield’.

The service was conducted in front of a packed church by the Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Reverend David Williams.

In an interesting ‘sermon’ the Bishop paid much thoughtful – and often humorous – homage to the history of Whitchurch and its foundations before the Presentations, Declarations and Oaths that led to the signing of the legal documents.

David Roche Vicar All HallowsDavid, Amy and family
David Roche hails from Beverley in East Yorkshire, has been married for 26 years to Amy and has five children, two of whom have married. David, Amy and his three youngest children, Grace (13), Zach (12) and Levi (10), will be living in Whitchurch.

From Beirut to Whitchurch
David and Amy come from serving as mission partners with the Church Mission Society in Beirut where he was Vicar at the All Saints Anglican Church. They also worked closely with Syrian refugees.
David said:
“Hampshire will be quite a contrast for us in comparison to Lebanon. In addition to the hot dusty climate, lawless traffic and amazing Mediterranean food, we are also used to having soldiers with Kalashnikovs on guard outside church every Sunday morning during services to stop any terrorist threat.”

During the service a number of local people from the Parish passed symbols of ministry to their new Priest in Charge – these included a jug of water for Baptism, a Bible to proclaim the message of the Gospel, a prayer book to unite all in prayer and fellowship, olive oil for forgiveness and healing, and bread and wine for Holy Communion.

After the service.

After the service (click pic to enlarge).

Welcome to Whitchurch
Welcome messages were passed from to representatives of the local community – from the Mayor of Whitchurch, John Buckley; Borough Councillors Chloe Ashfield and David George; Testbourne Community School, James Lovegrove; Whitchurch Church of England Primary School, Kate Steven; the Baptist congregation, Gordon Hopkins; the Methodist congregation, Helen Mehaffey; recently retired Borough Councillor Keith Watts; and from the Salvation Army.

The service was followed by refreshments which were very much enjoyed by all.


The licensing of Rev’d. David Roche as ‘Priest in Charge’ follows the departure of the Rev’d Kelvin Inglis who was installed as Rector of St. Thomas’s, the Parish Church of Salisbury, last July.