Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop appoints new priest for Cowplain

    28 May 2023

    THE Bishop of Portsmouth has appointed the Rev Chris Spencer to be the new parish priest at St Wilfrid’s Church, Cowplain.

    Chris is currently working as priest-in-charge of St Ann’s Church, Rhyl in North Wales. He is part of a team in the Aber Morfa Mission Area, which is in the Diocese of St Asaph.

    He will be licensed in September as the new priest-in-charge of St Wilfrid’s Church, just ahead of the church’s centenary celebrations in October. And he has promised that mission and outreach will be at the heart of his vision for the area.

    “St Wilfrid’s is an exciting place to be, and I hope to be able to carry on the good work that God is already going on there,” he said. “My passion is to bless people, to inspire others to get to know God better, and to build a loving community that blesses those people we meet.”

    Chris grew up in Leicestershire and became a Christian at the age of 11. He first felt a calling to be a church leader at the age of 12, and he spent time serving in different churches, on mission opportunities in the UK and abroad, and working with children and young people as he explored his calling.

    He worked in a variety of jobs in local government and landscape gardening before becoming a youth worker with Youth For Christ in Kent. In Poole, Dorset he met Emily. The couple married and now have two children, Chloe, aged 12, and Leah, aged six.

    Chris studied theology at St John’s College, Nottingham, and moved to Wiltshire, where he was ordained as a deacon and served at St James, Southbroom, in Salisbury diocese.

    He then served for five years as a church and community worker in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire Methodist circuit and associate minister of St Anne’s Church, Oldland, in the Bristol diocese. Much of his work there involved outreach that took place in the local community, including being chaplain of a local heritage railway line at Avon Valley.

    In 2019, he moved to the Aber Morfa Mission Area, which includes six churches in Bodelwyddan, Rhuddlan, Rhyl and Towyn, initially as curate. He was ordained as a priest in St Asaph Cathedral in 2020.

    Chris’s wife Emily is studying for a degree in psychology at the Open University, and has worked as a pastoral worker when they lived in Bristol. The couple expect to move to Cowplain over the summer, ahead of Chris’s licensing on Sunday 3rd September.

    The church celebrates its 100th anniversary on October 15, when worshippers will welcome back previous vicars the Rt Rev Peter Hancock, who became Bishop of Bath and Wells; the Ven Paul Moore, who became an archdeacon in Winchester diocese; and the Rev Ian Snares, who left last year to become vicar of Frome.

    St Wilfrid's Cowplain

    Padnell Road Cowplain Waterlooville PO8 8DZ, PO8 8DZ

    More info

    Children and Young People

    More news