Father Vivian Roy Bartlett, a former Royal Navy Chaplain was instituted as the Parish Priest of St Peter’s, Folkestone. The Venerable A. E. Sargent, Archdeacon of Canterbury performed the induction ceremony.
During this service, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher said in his address, “this parish has been outside the real fellowship of the diocese, choosing to go its own way, beyond that which is the authority of the Church. I ask your vicar and you that there shall be no variation of the liturgy in this church from that so permitted. It is a debt which you owe to the people of this parish that any single person in this parish, who desires the sacrament of Holy Communion, shall find the liturgy of the Church of England.
I am told that in this church a service called Benediction has been a regular feature of Sunday evening for a long time past. First let me tell you that the service of Benediction is forbidden in every diocese of the Church of England. It has no authority whatever behind it in the Church of England and it is forbidden. I know there are churches which defy this universal rule of the Church of England and insist on having it.
In this diocese I believe this is the only church in the fellowship of the diocese which refuses to accept that rule. That is the chief reason why you have been outside the real fellowship of the diocese. I trust your vicar will obey my rule on this matter and that you will not question him for so doing. My own desire would be that if services of Benediction being stopped, there is a desire that devotion shall continue, you have the service of Devotion on a week-day and not on Sunday evening”
Like his predecessors, Fr Bartlett stood fast against the authorities, ignoring Dr Fisher’s request on the basis that previous Archbishops had allowed Benediction and that it was a popular and well attended service which has been maintained until the beginning of the last interregnum and now takes place at 18:30 on the second Sunday of the month, following Evening Prayer.
Fr Bartlett maintained the traditions of St. Peter’s. During the years of austerity immediately after the war, there was much work to be done in the Parish. Although repairs to the church, and the building of a new organ loft and choir gallery were completed by 1947, it was not until March 1954 that the Parish Hall in Wear Bay Crescent was repaired and rededicated by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher. The St Peter’s Men’s Club building in Radnor Street which was also badly damaged during the war was rebuilt and reinstated at this time.
Sadly after nine years as vicar, Fr Bartlett tragically died suddenly on the 18th September 1956. During his incumbency the Sacred Heart Chapel was created where the former Lewis Organ had stood, the oak panelling coming from the Convent Chapel of St Andrew’s Home, from where also came the Beale and Thynne organ which is still with us today in the Gallery.