“We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, straight, gay, confused, well-heeled or down at heel. We especially welcome wailing babies and excited toddlers.
We welcome you whether you can sing like Pavarotti or just growl quietly to yourself. You’re welcome here if you’re just ‘browsing’, just woken up or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury or haven’t been to church since Christmas ten years ago.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but now grown up yet and to teenagers who are growing up too fast.
We welcome keep-fit mums, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians and junk food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, are down in the dumps or don’t like ‘organised religion’ (we’re not that keen on it either!)
We offer a warm welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, can’t spell or are here because granny is visiting and wanted to come to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced, both or neither. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throat as kids or got lost on the ring road and wound up here by mistake.
We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters…and you! “
To give you a glimpse into who I am (which I believe is only fair as I get glimpses into who you are) I give you this potted autobiography to absorb and digest at your leisure:
I was born in Aldershot in ’76, baptised at St Michaels there, and I am the oldest of four boys that ‘blessed’ my parents. My dad was a fireman and my mother a receptionist once all of us had grown. By that time we had moved to the New Forest. The family was heavily involved in the Scouts, but I was the only one to regularly go to church after reaching adolescence: joining the choir of St Michaels, Lyndhurst, was the ‘in thing’ and the vicar had recruited a motley 20 lads and lasses to sing with the adults (and have a laugh whilst being told off by the altos). It was during this time I was confirmed.
It was during my teenage years that I went on a pilgrimage to Iona: during a service in the Abbey I had a deep and moving experience where I felt both the love and awesomeness of God – an experience that has ever remained with me.
I left home at 18 to go to Aberystwyth University: I read Botany and then stayed on for a PGCE to go into teaching. Even then, however, I was exploring ministry through St Michaels, Aberystwyth.
My first teaching post was in Poole, Dorset, where I learnt how to teach well and how to enjoy teaching in the heat of a ‘rough’ school. By the end of my time there I loved teaching and the students that I taught, having fun and connecting with them to enliven their interest in Science.
I moved on to St Albans and became Head of Science managing a team of 14 staff. It was while in St Albans that God again prompted me to explore my calling to the priesthood, firstly through my Priest, one Fr Stuart (now in Grantham) and secondly through the monks of Taizé, France. I had mixed feelings about this as I loved teaching, but it was a calling that was not going away. In the exploring and through the exhaustive selection process that exists in the Church of England I found that this felt right and have moved into this calling confidently.
I studied at Westcott House, one of the theological colleges of Cambridge and read Theology with Ministry at Sidney Sussex. The whole experience proved to be a challenge, but one that I enjoyed rising to meet. The most formative times were spent out of Westcott: on Iona, again, but this time with my fellow ordinands; and in Manchester working in a parish. Both have recalled to me some of the ‘why’ behind my calling to serve.
I ‘served my title’ as a curate at St Michaels, Bishop’s Stortford, under Canon Toby Marchand, now Chaplain of Dover College. This was truly a blessing and I learnt and experienced much under his guidance. I began a Youth Group and was much involved in the children’s’ work and schools, alongside the whole ministry a parish priest offers. Toby retired in my final year leaving the churchwardens and I to manage the vacancy.
I became Chaplain at Oundle School in 2013. This was to test the ground of chaplaincy and see if the blend of teaching and ministry was right for me. It has been marvellous, and I’ve enjoyed the combination and working with young people. However, I still feel called to parish ministry.
Since 2016, I have been serving the parishes of Corby, Ss Peter and Andrew, and Great and Little Oakley, St Michael and All Angels. We have the joy of managing Corby Foodbank, running a mums and toddlers group and a Science Club, alongside all the ‘normal’ parish activities. I live up on Beanfield with my dog ‘Ifer and I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story and how you have been walking with God.
Blessings and peace be yours,