Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop appoints new team rector for Newport, Carisbrooke and Gatcombe

    7 May 2024

    BISHOP Jonathan has appointed the Rev Chris Bradish as the new team rector to lead our churches in Newport, Carisbrooke and Gatcombe.

    Chris is currently rector of Andover parish, which is a Resource Church and includes four churches in North Hampshire. He will head to the Isle of Wight with his wife Naomi, three children - and Basil the labrador - over the summer, and is likely to be licensed on September 15.

    Prior to training, Chris and Naomi were involved in a range of church leadership roles, running youth and discipleship groups, preaching and helping to lead a church service for adults with learning disabilities. He trained for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon, served for a year on staff at Holy Trinity Brompton, and has since been involved in helping the church in Andover grow in discipleship, faith and mission across a range of worshipping styles and traditions. Alongside this he has served in other roles including as area dean and as a bishop’s adviser.

    His current church, St Mary’s, plays an important civic role in North Hampshire and the parish partners with a number of organisations including the NHS, the Forces community, various education settings, the Borough Council and key local employers, so he will be well placed to engage with the island’s civic and historic links.

    Chris and Naomi were also in the congregation for the re-opening of Newport Minster last week, when HRH the Duke of Edinburgh visited to celebrate the completion of its ambitious refurbishment.

    He said: “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve Newport, Carisbrooke and Gatcombe as team rector, and to join the team and others in progressing the church’s mission to the Isle of Wight. The churches at the heart of the island are poised for something new – you can feel it. As a family, we’re looking forward to making new friends, learning new things and being part of this new chapter in the church’s life.

    “We will be sad to leave Andover where we have made so many friends, but it’s a huge privilege to be called to the island. I’m looking forward to building on the prayers, hard work and service of so many; parishioners, staff, volunteers and donors, who have transformed Newport Minster into a wonderful, bright space for worship of the living God. It’s equally clear that all the churches in the benefice have inspiring testimonies of God’s love at work through their long and rich histories; I’m looking forward to learning these stories as we look to the future in St John’s, Carisbrooke and Gatcombe.”

    Chris was working as a solicitor in London when he felt called to ordained ministry. He trained in Oxford and was ordained as a deacon and then as a priest at Winchester Cathedral. He served his curacy in Alton and then spent a year on staff at Holy Trinity Brompton before moving to Andover.

    During Chris’s time in Andover, his work has included a major re-ordering of St Mary’s and a town-wide pastoral reorganisation. He has also overseen the establishment and growth of the Lighthouse, a programme of initiatives in support of the town which includes a sustainable food partnership, mental health courses, debt counselling, Good Grub Clubs, detached youth work, bereavement care and various missional projects operating from the Life Bus - a revamped, double-decker bus complete with nail bar, PS5 and lounge area.

    His wife Naomi is a social worker and currently works for the NHS, leading a mental health team, and will be looking for a similar role on the island. Their three children, Peter, aged 11, Juliette, 8 and Lydia, 6, will transfer to island schools. Chris enjoys watching and playing most sports, including rowing, rugby and football. He said: “Andover and Newport play in the same league, so I’ll have a good reason to catch those games home and away if possible.

    “My experience is in establishing and leading a Resource Church which needed to respond to a different kind of place compared to those that went before. St Mary’s is a big, civic church, where we have seen the Lord renew faith and transform lives in some extraordinary ways. The church has grown as a gathered community, but its deeply committed to its sense of place alongside that. Thinking at a town-wide level, this has opened up some wonderful opportunities for the gospel. Andover doesn’t have some of the institutions that Newport has - certainly not a castle! - but I hope my experiences will be relevant.

    “A thriving ministry in the centre creates space to forge new links between churches and communities across the island where the prospect of mutual belonging and sharing gifts speaks to a generous God who is on the move. The long-hoped-for reordering of Newport Minster is a joyful story in itself and provides a fantastic platform for growth, with hospitality and prayer at its heart. We’re looking forward to discovering what a great place the island is for family life.”

    Bishop Jonathan is expected to license Chris to his new role at 4pm on September 15 in Newport Minster.

    St Mary the Virgin

    High Street, Carisbrooke, PO30 1NR

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    St John's

    St John's Road Newport, PO30 1LN

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    St Olaves

    Gatcombe Road, Gatcombe, PO30 3EJ

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    Newport Minster

    St Thomas' Square, High Street Newport, PO30 1SG

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