1 November 2014
I am very pleased to introduce myself to you and I very much look forward to meeting you personally. I was educated at King Edward’s VI School, Lichfield, and for 15 years followed a career in Banking before becoming a Reader in 1987. This was a change of direction that came about gradually - there was no sudden “conversion experience”. I trained at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was ordained in Worcester in 1992. I subsequently obtained a BA at the Open University, and an MA in Pastoral Theology at Birmingham University in 1996, followed by a Ph.D in Theology in 2000.
My ministry began in the largely rural diocese of Worcester. I was assistant Curate in the Worcester South-East Team from 1992-1995 and also a part-time Chaplain at St.Richard’s Hospice and at RNIB New College, Worcester. In 1995, I became Rector of Ripple, Earls Croome with Hill Croome and Strensham, and in 2000 I also became Rector of Upton upon Severn and The Church of the Good Shepherd, Hook Common. The churches, and the communities which each served, were very active and mixed, and I enjoyed the predictable and unexpected challenges and demands of parochial ministry in both town and country; this included developing new patterns of lay ministry and fundraising for a significant medieval church. I was also privileged to work ecumenically as a member of the Upton upon Severn Local Ecumenical Partnership from 1999, becoming its Chairman in 2005. From 1997-2005 I was Rural Dean of Upton, and Chairman of the Worcester Diocesan House of Clergy from 2002-2005. I was appointed an Honorary Canon of Worcester Cathedral in 2003. In 2005, I moved to Cornwall to become Dean of Truro and Rector of St.Mary’s Truro where I began working with new colleagues and many different groups of people within the Cathedral and across the diocese of Truro, all of which I enjoyed. During this time I also chaired the Truro Diocesan Board of Education and, as a former school governor, valued working closely with schools once again. I moved to my present post in the Diocese of Exeter as the Mission Leader and Enabler for the Holsworthy Mission Community, and Priest-in-Charge of the parishes of Pyworthy with Pancrasweek and Bridgerule, in 2011, where a priority has been work with schools, children, and young families, and the development of a single Mission Action Plan for the 22 churches and 5 Benefices of the Holsworthy Deanery. This plan is now complete and was celebrated by Bishop Nick at a special service held in the Mission Community recently. At a national level, I was elected to General Synod in 2004. From 2002-2007, I served on the Church Commissioners Pastoral Committee, and from 2007-2011 as a member of the Church Commissioners Bishopric and Cathedrals Committee, during which time I was also elected to the Church Commissioners Board of Governors. Following my move to the Diocese of Exeter, I was appointed Rural Dean of Holsworthy in 2014 and currently serve on the Barnstaple Archidiaconal Mission and Pastoral Committee.
My wife, Sarah, is a Medical Secretary, and we married in 2011. We have five children, David and Rebecca are both music graduates and live and work in London. Rebecca is presently studying for an MA at the Royal College of Music. Two of our children are approaching the start of their GCSE studies in 2015 and 2016, and our youngest daughter is at primary school. We also have a (very) lively West Highland Terrier who is just about to celebrate his first birthday! As a family we very much enjoy living in Devon and have settled well into the County. Music plays an important part in my life and I have always enjoyed choral music, being fortunate to sing in a number of choirs when other commitments have allowed. Other hobbies include cooking and current affairs. As a family we enjoy the outdoors and especially walking (or being walked) by our dog. With Sarah’s help, I have recently learnt to sail.
I am deeply committed to parochial ministry and we are all delighted with the forthcoming move to the parishes of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor. We are very much looking forward to getting to know you, and to you getting to know us.
With my love and prayers
1 October 2014
When the first of September arrives, I think about the school terms ahead. At the university most students are returning or arriving afresh, keen to study their new subjects. I am sure we can all recall our school days and days when we attended further education. Looking around Plymouth at the moment, it all seems to be about two parents and their university newbie looking somewhat lost. They are arriving for the first time to settle their child into accommodation and expectantly getting ready for a life-changing experience; getting ready for university. These threesomes look to me like adult swans calmly protecting their cygnet as they glide from one place to another, then leaving the cygnet to emerge as a swan after the first year of university. Day will follow day and emerge they will. Maybe they will emerge not quite like a swan but nearly! The same transformation is happening and being repeated in primary schools and senior schools year after year. And we pray for the children, the parents, the teachers and all those supporting the grand education system we have in this country.
Jesus was the model teacher, of course. He moved from one place to another, always taking the opportunity to speak to individuals, crowds and of course His own small and loyal group of disciples. Above all, He spoke with love and compassion. He prepared through prayer and He always used real life situations, pictures and stories that others could relate to as He taught. Of course we know that Jesus challenges us with questions and then, as now, He often needs to explain what the teaching is about. But He did and does this patiently. As every one of us knows, we often need to hear, in different ways, what the message truly is for us. Repeating the same message and explaining what it means is the way it seems to be in the Bible: the prophets kept repeating the message, as did Paul. Solomon opened the Book of Proverbs in this way, taken from the Message version of the Bible:
1 1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
1 September 2014
The summer months always seem to bring some disturbance to our regular patterns of Church and worship. No choir or evensong at St. Eustachius’, but instead the opportunity to make the climb at Brent Tor up to our unique church of St Michael de Rupe. Built on an extinct volcanic cone, and surrounded by an iron-age hill fort, it is well worth the climb for a 360 view over the moors and countryside, and then for the atmosphere and worship so high and close to heaven! Fortunately, as yet, I have not been forced, as were some previous pastors, to “humble himself upon all fours, preparatory to being exalted to the pulpit”. Please come and join us before the end of September at a service where even six dogs have been known to listen obediently!
As most of you will have heard, our vacancy continues at St. Eustachius’. We do ask for your prayers that, when re-advertised in September, the person of God’s calling will respond and be appointed. In the mean time we continue to be most thankful for all the support we are receiving from local retired and serving clergy.
I also hope that you are all aware that on September 27th at 5pm our new Bishop Robert of Exeter will be holding an ordination service at St. Eustachius’ when Elizabeth Burke, Andy Barton and myself will be ordained as Priests. We would welcome your prayers for this very special occasion, and invite any who can to come and support us in this exciting and important step forward in our ministries.
There seems to be very much change and disturbance going on around us in the world at present, and we have much to give thanks for as we are so blessed where we live in this beautiful part of God’s creation to be spared from such things. In one of our readings this month (Matt 10v1-25) Jesus prepares his disciples for times of persecution ahead. Many of us may have hoped that with the fall of the iron curtain in 1989, where in eastern Europe there had been much sacrifice in being a true believer and follower in our Lord, all this had ended. But now we have the terrible situation faced by our brothers and sisters not just in Syria and Iraq (where there has been a strong Christian presence since early church times and which is now rapidly being eradicated), we have persecutions in Northern Nigeria, Sudan, Eretria, and many other places. How it behoves us to pray earnestly for the Christians there, for their protection and deliverance, and for their continued faithfulness to Jesus, and to examine how we may also be able to support them in other ways too. The recent words of the Bishop of Manchester come to mind that “there has been too much silence, for too long, from too high up”. Just where do we as a Christian community here in the Tavistock area fit into all this? Pray for wisdom as to how we, as individuals and community, can influence our leaders to defend the rights of our Christian, and other, threatened minorities.
Read more: From Reverend Mike Loader, Assistant Curate