Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Funeral of Oldest Priest in the Diocese - Fr Charles Slaughter

Procession to the grave
Fr Charles Slaughter at 94 the oldest priest in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton recently died and Peggy Purslow of the parish of Wadhurst reports on his funeral:
On Monday November 14, a typically damp and misty November day, the parishioners, relatives and friends of Fr. Charles Slaughter gathered to lay him to rest and give thanks for his life of service and ministry to our parish for 31 years. A moving moment at the vigil Mass was when symbols of his priesthood were placed on his coffin: his chalice, his stole, his crucifix and his very well-worn breviary. As he had stiipulated "no florists' arrangements" his friends scoured their dank, denuded gardens to produce a pretty posy of autumn flowers and leaves, as he had wished.

Fr Charles

Before his Requiem Mass we received a message from Bishop Kieran explaining that as his presence was required at the Bishops Conference in Leeds he was sorry not to be able to officiate. However Mgr. John Hull, the Vicar General, came to say his Requiem, concelebrating with a number of priests from all over the diocese. Fr. Slaughter would have been gratified that at his Requiem Mass many other local Christians took part including the Vicar, Rev. Jeremy James, and the choir comprising Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics, all singing in harmony.

Although Fr. Slaughter retired in 1999 he remained a presence in the area and was often at Mass in Wadhurst until a year ago. Many people have fond memories of him as a dedicated visitor dropping in at all times for a chat. One parishioner discovered that her father had tried to teach him Maths and Physics at Chichester High School. So long was his ministry in Wadhurst that not only did he marry some parishioners but he also married their children. However, it was his efforts to bring about an open and cooperative approach to other Christian traditions that is his lasting legacy to the Sacred Heart parish and one from which we are still benefiting. We in Wadhurst thank God for the life and ministry of a holy and dedicated priest. May he rest in peace.


  1. A wonderful person and a perfect priest who led by example. He taught me at Mark Cross and he was of course a superb teacher and a wonderful mentor. I will always remember him fondly and know he is reaping his rewards in heaven.

  2. I recently met a retired priest who will be 99 next March. So Fr.Charles isn't the oldest priest. But even so I am sorry for Fr. Charles