My name is Richard Williams and in July this year I will have been the Vicar of Alveston for 25 years, a quarter of a century! I have a degree in Theology from the University of Hull, I was trained for ministry at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, and so all my higher education took place in Yorkshire!
I have been married for 35 years to Alex and we have four ‘children’, three of whom are now independent adults, Lucy has just finished her 'A' levels at Stratford-upon-Avon School.
We have a dog called Pippa who is a Border Collie and never wants to stop playing!
During my time here I have been Rural Dean, Clergy Chair of Diocesan Synod, and a member, now Chair, of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches.
As a Church we are always looking for ways of engaging with the community and helping in any way we can. After all, as William Temple famously said, “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members."
My own faith journey began in a Presbyterian Sunday School where I learnt that Jesus wanted me to be a sunbeam, moved through Methodist Bible Class, to High Church of England in a Church where “Bells and smells” were very much the thing.
The College at Mirfield, where I trained, stands very much in that Catholic tradition of the Church of England, being attached to a religious community, the Community of the Resurrection or, “Mirfield Fathers”, as they were often called. They gained notoriety in the 1950’s for their work in South Africa and the stand against Apartheid. Bishop Trevor Huddleston being a name most remember from that time and a member of the Community of the Resurrection.
Consequently, I see myself, and our Church, as standing in that same “Catholic” tradition of inclusivity and openness. At St. James’ we seek to be a welcoming and inclusive Church without ‘dumbing down’ the important task of worshipping God. We try to make that worship inspiring and as attractive and accessible as possible, even for those entering the doors for the first time.