I first met Tom in 2003 in the war zone of South Sudan on a church mission trip. I was engaged to Rachel and as a couple we enjoyed getting to know Tom and Jo and all the kids and saw them from time to time over the next few years, both in London and in Brazil. And so it was amazing that Bishop Paul in 2014 appointed me Deanery Pioneer Curate based at St John’s (and shortly to be with St Mary’s) which turned out to be a really good idea from my point of view. Tom and I have remained, with God’s help, firm friends from start to finish (assuming we don’t fall out in the next week!)
I have loved my curacy, and the more I chat to other curates I know, the more I can see my curacy has been particularly unique and positive. With no employed staff team here, all of church life comes across Tom’s desk, and often my desk, and we have had to work it out together. This has given me a lot of exposure to running the parish. I think it’s also amazing that so many of our members live locally and can walk to church – either at St John’s or St Mary’s. Consequently, we have unusually strong links with local people, through shared experiences, passions and histories. This has not been the case in other churches I’ve been in.
The curacy has also helped me as a person – in terms of confidence and resilience. Praying through the Psalms daily with Tom has been crucial for this and has helped my own faith grow in reliance on God, as well as developing good patterns of spiritual disciplines. And then not having Tom when he went on sabbatical was a (steep!) learning curve but a good and necessary one which helped me to gain some perspective on this vocation of being a vicar. Needless to say, the curacy has been great fun for us as a whole family in large part because we have been so well looked after by both congregations.