Barkingside vicar heading to South Africa to help rural ministry

A Barkingside vicar is packing his suitcase ahead of a trip to South Africa where he will spend three months helping with a ministry.

Rev Edmund Cargill Thompson will leave Holy Trinity Parish Church in Mossford Green on January 2 as he marks 12 years since his ordination.

All vicars are required to do something different from their usual routine, such as take a course, or travel overseas, every 10 years, to increase and expand their experiences.

Mr Cargill Thompson will be living in Kwazulu Natal, a small rural village, until the end of March.

He told the Recorder: “The village is still suffering the effects of the apartheid, and many children lack a decent education.


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“There are nine churches in the village and only one vicar, so often the villagers don’t get a service, and I’ll be helping him out.”

He will be joined by his wife and two children, Jessica, eight and Henry, three.

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He hopes they will pick up some of the Zulu language.

Mr Cargill Thompson’s duties within the church will be taken over by one non stipendiary (not paid) priest, Mother Margaret Chapman, and two lay readers, Rosemary Potten and Tony Robins, who he described as “very gifted people”.

When he returns, the parish will be preparing for Easter. His last major service will be for Christmas. “I will leave at the church’s busiest time, and return at another very busy time!” he said.

Fr Brian Branche, who wrote a book called Seconds Out, about a journey he took before working at Holy Trinity Parish around 20 years ago, lived as a homeless person for three months so he could have a better understanding of those at the bottom of society.

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