A SPECIAL service to formalise the appointment of the new rector of Haslemere and Grayswood was held on August 22 at St Batholomew’s Church.

Keen to get to know as many of his parishioners as possible, Rev Chris Bessant and his wife Sophie are hosting a bring-and-share lunch at the rectory after the united benefice service at 10am on Sunday.

Chris comes to Haslemere after more than six years as vicar of St Lawrence Church in Chobham. Before that he was a curate at St Nicolas in Great Bookham.

His move will still be within Guildford diocese, although from one side of the county to another. Long-term Surrey residents, he and his wife previously lived in Leatherhead, Hampton Court and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Before becoming a minister, Chris had worked for 17 years as an IT specialist and project manager in the City of London and various overseas locations and has three children now in their 20s.

Chris said: “I used to work in a very different world, but I always imagined I would serve God.

“I was working in the church with young people and I started considering what it would mean to give one’s whole life to God.

“Funnily enough, in 2001 Sophie and I were looking to move and almost bought a house in Haslemere, but it didn’t happen and we went to Leatherhead.

“Everyone here has been very welcoming.

“I’ve been involved with schools, and families with young children, and the church serves people well at that stage of life.

“The church is also good at the other end of life, when we need the support of other people again.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with older people and have seen the need for adult and social care and how they can be supported by the church.”