As I write I have been priest in charge of Otham with Langley for a grand total of five days. So far so good! It is a very different proposition from my last job which was that of Interfaith Development Officer working on building up relationships with people of other faiths on behalf of all the church leaders in Lancashire, and paid ecumenically by Churches Together in Lancashire.
I am married to Mandy (Registered Health Visitor and Registered Nurse) who will be moving to Kent to join me permanently at the end of June (she is presently seconded to University of Central Lancashire one day per week through until mid-June), to take up a Health Visiting post in Kent. We have daughter (Adina) who is studying Biology at Bangor University and starts her final year in September, and a son (Ben) who is completing a course at Myerscough College of further education. He shortly has an interview to consider undertaking a foundation degree. I enjoy reading, watch lots of sport on TV and make an annual pilgrimage to the Isle of Man to watch the TT races which have been an exciting part of my life for over forty years.
When I knew that I was seeking to return to full-time parochial ministry it was a question of ‘where?’. As a card-carrying Lancastrian I could easily have stayed in the north but Mandy’s family live in Uckfield and Brighton and (especially as my parents are dead) it seemed to be a good idea to seek to move somewhere south of London in order that she could be nearer to her family. One or two possibilities arose after thorough study of the Church Times vacancies section, but Otham with Langley always seemed to be favourite, a feeling overwhelmingly reinforced as I was shown around the parish in the twenty four hours prior to interview. I was thrilled when I received the call offering me the post and nothing has changed over the intervening three months.
I believe that my wide-ranging experience and open, ecumenical and collaborative approach to ministry will stand me in good stead for the ministry which lies ahead and I trust that under God, Otham with Langley will be good for me/us and that I/ we will be good for the parish.