Introductory letter from our Vicar designate

October 30, 2016 4:00 pm Published by

 

Further to the good news announced on 9 October 2016, Eric Lomax, our Vicar designate, has recently written the following letter to us:

On Sunday, I announced to three of my churches in the Colsterworth Group, that I will be leaving them in January, to become Vicar of Kempston and Biddenham, in the Diocese of St Alban. It is an exciting opportunity for Liz and I, and we look forward very much to serving you in your communities.

Liz and I have lived here in Lincolnshire for nearly seven years now, and while there have been challenges, it has been wonderful time for us. I have been responsible for five parishes, which is due to become seven. Much of the work has involved links with two very good Church of England schools. I will miss these schools, and the children, who often breathe life into our church buildings. School work has been the corner stone of my ministry in Colsterworth, and has provided an ocean of opportunity to build up relationships with the local community. In the time we have been here we have seen a real growth in the relationship between communities and the church, and a deeper understanding of God. Sometimes the growth is clear, but also, at times, unperceivable. These are, in part, rural communities, and working alongside the farming communities has taught me faith, that what God is doing beneath the soil, can, often remain hidden from sight.

The nature of ordained ministry is that we spend a great deal of time accompanying people through painful, often tragic times of their life. Because of this, the relationships we build cannot be merely superficial, so leaving our friends in Lincolnshire is not easy, but God calls us to new things, and we must respond to that call.

It helps that I have a varied background. I come from the Wirral peninsula, and I trained full time in their college in Blackheath. This experience brought me into contact with many areas of sector ministry including industrial mission, hospital chaplaincy, forces chaplaincy, and in prisons. I am also a qualified youth worker, a qualified teacher and experienced secondary head of religious studies.

I am in awe of the commitment that my wife, Liz, shows in this. She is a secondary music teacher who extends her work to training other teachers around the country in performing arts. She has offered her resignation in a girl’s school in Grantham, in order to support my ministry in Kempston and Biddenham. She hopes to teach music privately when we move. In ministry, communities often forget the sacrifice made by spouses in supporting their partner’s ministry. We feel strongly that we should always seek God’s will for both of us, and not just myself.

Between us we have five children in their twenties. Two of the girls work in London for media companies (Blue144, and the Daily Telegraph), and the other writes science GCSE exam papers in Guildford. One of the boys is a chef, and the other works in a residential home for ex-offenders. Of these, it is only Rachael (pictured), who is likely to be living with us full time. Our children have a close relationship with each other, and are all very excited at the prospect of us living in Bedfordshire.

Often when people see me, they will see me with a camera. I have enjoyed taking images since I was a child, and that is my way of framing and interpreting the world. I see photo- imaging as an art form and a means of expression. Often I will use traditional cameras and processing, if I can get away with using photographic chemicals in the kitchen. I get some of my kicks out of exploring the work of some of the great photographers of the past.

I cannot talk about my family without mentioning Nutmeg. Nutmeg is an eighteen-month old chocolate Labrador who provides Liz and I with a constant excuse for needing to go on walks together. My family is important to me, and time with Liz and the kids is both an obligation and a pleasure.

It is wonderful that you have invited us to join you in Kempston and Biddenham. I believe that God has called us to share with you in your journey of faith, and we both look forward to spending time getting to know you all.

God bless, Eric

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This post was written by John Richards

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