It is with both sadness and excitement that I share the news that Jess and I will be leaving Amington in the summer.  We are sad because we’ve had some wonderful times here over the past five years – not least being pelted with wet sponges at the summer fairs – and excited to be starting something new.

All being well, on 3 August Bishop David will license me as vicar of Christ Church Selly Park, in Birmingham.  So we won’t be moving too far away!

It’s been a long and convoluted process – I actually first felt called to the role back in August last year, but the timing wasn’t right.  After a lot of prayer during the autumn I eventually applied right at the last minute, and was interviewed and selected as the preferred candidate on 8 December.  Everything was then put on ice because of Christmas and then the lockdown, before Bishop David was finally able to offer me the job during Holy Week.

The hardest thing was not being allowed to say anything until the official announcement.  I’ve had many conversations when I’ve wanted to share this, but have not been allowed to.  I apologise for that secrecy, especially if you feel deceived or misled.

You will have many questions I’m sure – please don’t be scared to ask me, though I can’t promise to know the answer!  Our last Sunday is likely to be 27 June, after which Jess and I will have two weeks off before moving house in the middle of July.  I will however still be taking all the weddings after we move, until the end of August.

We will be discussing all this further at our PCC meeting on Wednesday evening, at which we will be joined by our Area Dean Louise Shaw, and hopefully also Archdeacon Simon Heathfield.

Leading a church through a vacancy is not easy, especially for Church Wardens, so please be kind to Carol, but more than that, please be helpful!  My hope and prayer is that lots of you will be willing to help, so the burden of work doesn’t fall on two or three people.

I know it is a challenge when churches lose their vicar, but it is also an opportunity – because actually you aren’t ‘my’ church – we are, together, Jesus’ church.  That’s why our motto is ‘following Jesus together’.  My prayer for you is that you continue to follow him more and more.