Diocese of Portsmouth

    New priest appointed for South Wight

    9 Oct. 2023

    WORSHIPPERS in South Wight will welcome a new priest who is no stranger to digital technology.

    Bishop Jonathan has appointed the Rev Rob Marsh to be the new priest-in-charge of St Lawrence, Chale, Whitwell and Niton, subject to DBS check. And Rob will arrive fresh from a career in photography and broadcasting.

    Rob was a TV cameraman for many years, working for Sky News and for ITV’s Morning Worship. He then owned his own photography business, specialising in studio portraits. He’s even done a theological degree in which his dissertation was in digital worship.

    He became a Reader in 1987 and specialised in ministry to children and young people. He was then ordained in 2013 after studying in Lincoln, and has been a self-supporting minister in the Diocese of Leicester since then.

    “I think what appealed to me about this position was the role,” he said. “It felt as though this benefice was keen to develop, and there were things that could be done. A lot of it comes down to good communication, and I hope I have some expertise in that area.”

    Rob was born in Yorkshire, but moved frequently as his parents were both employed in the prison service. They moved to Lancashire and then Derbyshire before Rob got married and settled in Leicestershire.

    His experience as a TV cameraman involved him filming Ready Steady Cook, as well as Gordon Ramsey’s TV debut, and coverage of NATO troops and the Red Arrows. Photography had always been a hobby, but it became his full-time job as the number of camera crews used by broadcasters declined.

    He has always been involved with Scouts, acting as chaplain to major international Scouting camps, as well as working with children and young people in churches.

    As a Reader, Rob felt called to ordained ministry, and attended theological college. After ordination in 2013, he became curate at Whitwick, just outside Leicester, then curate and ultimately associate priest of Desford and Kirby Muxloe.

    He’s been able to explore Christianity as a minority religion in India, visit the Taizé Community in France, and have experience of churches of other traditions across his current deanery.

    “I’m quite middle-of-the-road by tradition, and I get my spiritual support with the Northumbria Community,” he said. “So I quite enjoy being on a retreat where there are times of silence.

    “Ministry with children and young people is important to me, but I’m also interested in encouraging people to think outside the brickwork – to look and see how we can properly engage with people around us. Livestreaming during the pandemic showed me that 50 per cent of our streams were watched by people at times other than Sundays, so there may be something in us being more flexible in our approach.

    “I am looking forward to being on the island, and to developing relationships across this benefice and with those around it.”

    Rob and his wife Jill enjoy cooking for large numbers. Rob is also a qualified fireman for narrow-gauge steam locomotives and enjoys clay pigeon shooting. Bishop Jonathan is expected to licence him on January 16.

    St Lawrence

    St Lawrence Parish Church, Undercliff Drive, PO38 1XJ

    More info

    Chale: St Andrew

    Church Place, Chale, PO38 2HA

    More info

    St Mary & St Rhadegund

    High Street, Whitwell, PO38 2RA

    More info

    St John the Baptist

    Church Street, Niton, PO38 2BT

    More info

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