New parish priest says he is ‘privileged’ to take on new role at Barkingside church
PUBLISHED: 11:42 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:49 04 September 2014
The Rev Stuart Batten has been installed as the priest-in-charge at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Mossford Green.
The 41-year-old, who lives with wife, Karen and children Megan, 13, Elijah, 10, Joseph, five, and one-year-old Austin, moved into the vicarage last month after moving from Wickham Bishops, Essex.
And he said he had already received a warm welcome from residents. “We are really excited. It’s a bit of a change from the countryside where we came from,” he said.
“I love the vibrancy of the area and the diversity.”
At the church, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, was there to officially license and install the Rev Batten in front of the congregation.
Rev Batten said his first challenge as parish priest would be to get to know the community and its faith leaders.
“It’s a job and it’s a way of life. It’s such a privilege to be with people at the happiest times and the saddest times of their lives,” he said.
“It’s always new, always challenging and no two days are the same. I think the role of the parish priest has changed, particularly because society is so multicultural and so multi-ethnic.”
Stuart’s wife will also be running the new Sparrows nursery at the church centre. “It’s the church doing something to serve the community in a really tangible way,” he said.
“This church community has had a long history of working with children. The Barnardo’s foundation is in the parish.”
It was as a university student in Aberystwyth when Stuart first started thinking about becoming a priest.
Despite none of his family being religious, Stuart, who grew up in Elm Park, decided to join the clergy.
“It just felt right,” he said.
“I was really encouraged by the staff there to get involved. My family have been great. They’ve always been so supportive, even though that’s not their thing.”
Sparrows Childcare is due to open later this month.
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