A new Vicar for the Parish of West End, Southampton.
Greetings from Kingston upon Thames! There is a beautiful field of daffodils in sight from my study window as I sit typing and a glorious magnolia tree in the church grounds here has just blossomed. Signs of new life are appearing all around as I reflect on my new beginning with you at St James' this summer. I'm thrilled to have been appointed as your new vicar and very much look forward to joining you in a few months' time.
I'm a born and bred Southampton girl so it will be a returning home for me. I grew up attending St Michael and All Angels Church on Bassett Avenue. My family were very involved with church life there and I sang in the choir. I have very fond memories of the church and it played an important role in my spiritual journey, giving me a deep love of the Eucharist and choral worship.
I started exploring a calling to the priesthood while at Leeds university and after hearing a sermon about the work of the Missions to Seafarers I decided to test my vocation and apply to be a port chaplain's assistant. I was posted to the port of Yokohama in Japan and what an interesting experience it was! I loved living in such a different culture, and it was fascinating meeting seafarers from all over the world. Sadly, conditions on the ships were often poor and many seafarers had to spend many months away from their families. I spent two years in Yokohama and then transferred to the seafarers' centre in Southampton. It feels very appropriate to be joining a church dedicated to St James with his symbols of the boat and scallop shell.
I've served in three very different parishes since my ordinations at Winchester Cathedral in 2002 and 2003 as deacon and then priest. My curacy was in a neighbouring parish to you, the parish of Swaythling, which encompasses the Flowers Estate, the Mansbridge Estate and some of Townhill Park. There were lots of baptisms, wedding and funerals, and lively all age services to take and I learned a lot from the warm, faithful congregations at the two churches. My second parish was in a very wealthy area of central London. St Peter's Eaton Square was a busy Anglo-Catholic parish with a strong musical tradition. The congregation was a mix of millionaires, MPs and lots of families. Quite a different experience to ministering in Swaythling! I was the assistant priest and half of my time there was spent covering an interregnum.
My current parish encompasses a little suburb of south west London known as the Spring Grove area. It has a village feel to it and the church, dedicated to St John the Evangelist, is inclusive and community focused. It is part of the Kingston Team Ministry. I am very involved with the church school and I also have a chaplaincy role at Kingston University which is in the parish.
I married Robin at St Mary's South Stoneham at the end of my curacy. He is from Romsey and we have three lovely daughters. Emma will be 10 in May and lively twins Holly and Lucy will be 8 in August. This will be their first move and they are very excited about our new adventure.
I have a great love of drama, as well as music, and my children and I have performed in a few shows with the local amateur dramatics company here. I've been the wicked queen in Snow White and a stroppy child in The Babes in the Wood! I was also briefly a member of Eastleigh Operatic Society during my time in Swaythling. I'm very much looking forward to meeting you all and seeing what God has in store for us in the years ahead. With my very best wishes and my prayers
An extract from the May 2019 addition of the St James’ Church Magazine
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