Priest praises Biggin Hill community ahead of 60th anniversary celebrations
PUBLISHED: 12:02 20 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 May 2016
Father Gerald Flood has been part of the community since the 1980s
A parish priest has praised the community of Biggin Hill ahead of celebrations to mark 60 years in the priesthood.
Father Gerald Flood, parish priest of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, joined the priesthood in 1956 and has been in Biggin Hill since the 1980s, making him the longest serving cleric to have worked in that parish since the Reformation.
The 85-year-old is highly respected in the local community by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and he is a staunch advocate of dialogue between different denominations.
Father Flood told the Bromley Times: “I am very grateful to God that he has granted me the health to continue in the ministry despite the fact that I am ten years over the usual age of retirement.
“I am very attached to the community here. I have seen them grow up and helped them spiritually and in other ways over the years, and I have a very wonderful and loyal congregation.
“Over a hundred of us meet every Sunday and we have a daily mass during the week, so I stay in touch with them and I try to visit the elderly and sick.
“There is a great ecumenism here,” he added. “The different churches meet from time to time, and most help in Biggin Hill Community Care, which has been in existence for 30 years.
“A key part of ecumenism is not to stress our divisions but what we have in common, to work for unity in faith and love.”
Father Flood was a founder member of Deptford Reach, a drop-in centre that helps people rebuild their lives after experiencing homelessness, mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse and social exclusion.
He is also president of Biggin Hill Romania Group, which supports children and residents in the area of Comanesti, north-east Romania.
“I have to pace myself and adjust to a busy daily programme, but parishioners keep an eye on me and they have been sending me meals, and it is kind of them to think of me,” Father Flood said.
The Archbishop of Southwark will hold a special mass at St Theresa’s at 10am on Sunday, and there will be another service on Thursday at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, with other members of the clergy in attendance.
A buffet will follow the Sunday service for those who wish to take part.
Croydon Male Voice Choir will also mark the occasion with a performance at St Mark’s Church, Biggin Hill, on Saturday, June 18 at 7.30pm.
Tickets, which are £10 for the performance and light refreshments, can be booked by telephoning 01689 849745 or 01959 540482.