New clergy team for The Bay parishes
A BRAND new team of three clergy will take charge of six Church of England parishes around Sandown Bay on the Isle of Wight. The new team will be given the freedom to create a new vision for ministry and mission in the area.
The Rev Mark Williams, who is currently curate at St Mary’s Church, Portchester, will become priest-in-charge of St Paul’s, Shanklin, and Christ Church, Sandown. He felt called by God to the area more than a year ago. He will be licensed by the Bishop of Portsmouth on August 20.
He said: “I actually preached in Christ Church on Vocations Sunday in May 2016. I was by myself in church beforehand and a quiet voice said that this was the place I should be. I had a sense that this was where I was called to be, but I was still only a second-year curate. But by the time the job was advertised, I was coming towards the end of my curacy.
“It will be the start of a new season at St Paul’s and Christ Church, and we need to discern where God is leading us. Of course I want to get to know the parishes first. And it will be good to work as part of a team – it’s about learning to worship God in our different traditions, and recognising each other’s gifts.”
Father David Lawrence-March, who is currently chaplain at Ardingly College in Haywards Heath, will become priest-in-charge of St Saviour-on-the-Cliff, Shanklin, and Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake.
He had never been to the Isle of Wight before May, but is moving there ahead of his licensing by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev Norman Banks, on Monday (July 17). The service will happen at St Saviour-on-the-Cliff in Shanklin.
Fr David said: “Of course, there is an element of trepidation, not least as it will entail a move back in parochial ministry after 25 years of chaplaincy in a variety of schools in both the maintained and independent sectors.
“The warmth of welcome I have already received from the diocese and parishioners in both parishes, and above all the prayerful support that has been forthcoming from so many quarters convinces me that the hand of God is at work.
“I look forward enormously, not only to the challenges ahead, but also to getting to know the people and clergy of the diocese, and ask for your prayers for all of us at the Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s.”
The third member of the team has yet to be appointed. Click here for details of the post.
The Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, the Ven Peter Sutton, said: “We were delighted with the quality of the applicants for these three posts, and very happy with those who we have appointed so far. They will be part of a strong team with many gifts to share in the Bay.
“We wanted to create a brand new team, spanning different traditions and working together in an area that is rich with potential. There are plenty of opportunities for effective ministry and mission in these lively seaside towns, and I’m confident that God will renew and equip these parishes for the task.”