Former local to preach at Westminster Abbey

PRESTIGIOUS INVITATION: Former local, Reverend Mike Rayson will preach in Westminster Abbey on Good Friday.
PRESTIGIOUS INVITATION: Former local, Reverend Mike Rayson will preach in Westminster Abbey on Good Friday.

FORMER Port Lincoln radio announcer, Reverend Mike Rayson will preach in London's Westminster Abbey on Good Friday.

Rev. Rayson, now a well-known pastor in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, will spend Easter in the United Kingdom after receiving a prestigious invitation to preach at the Abbey, where Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married last year.

He said rather than being a crowning achievement, this was simply another opportunity to spend time with fellow faith pilgrims.

Rev. Rayson was born in Kimba and grew up around Wudinna, and worked for 5CC in the early 1990s before becoming a Reverend with the Port Lincoln Uniting Church.

He was also a chaplain at the Port Lincoln High School.

Rev. Rayson did his theological training in Adelaide, moving on to the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and the St Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri.

He is now serving as associate pastor at St Paul United Methodist Church (UMC) in Brighton, Illinois.

In May he will lead worship for the UMC General Conference in Tampa, Florida, a gathering held every four years.

He has preached in countries including Italy, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, the USA, Canada, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Sweden and New Zealand.

"Ministry has taken me all over the world," Rev. Rayson said.

Westminster Abbey will join with the congregations of Westminster Methodist Central Hall and Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral for the Good Friday service, which includes a pilgrim march through the streets of London.

The ecumenical gathering and witness march has become an annual event since it was first held in 1990 as a celebration to mark the Decade of Evangelism.

The Abbey, formed in 1066 by Benedictine Monks, is an Anglican church under the supervision of the monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

As well as being the burial place of kings and queens, the Abbey is the final resting place for Geoffrey Chaucer, anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, and scientist Isaac Newton.

Coronations of the Commonwealth and British monarchs have also taken place in the Abbey, beginning with William the Conquerer in 1066.

The first royal wedding to take place in the Abbey was between Henry 1 and Matilda of Scotland in 1100.