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Our New Vicar – The Rev’d Dr James Saunders

We were thrilled to announce before Easter that The Rev’d Dr James Saunders will be our next Vicar. He won’t be installed until December but in the meantime he has written us an article so we can start to get to know him a little better.

Introducing Our New Vicar!

The Rev’d Dr James Saunders writes:

I won’t forget the moment when Archdeacon Phil asked if I’d like to be Vicar of St Mary’s. What an offer – to serve a wonderful church with so much promise and opportunity! I’m enormously grateful to everyone I met during the interview process for placing their confidence in me. I’ll try to deserve it.

To introduce myself, a potted history of my first half-century… Like every teenager, I was determined to be nothing like my parents. They were teachers and my mum is also a priest, so God’s sense of humour inevitably means I have spent the last 15 years combining their vocations as a school chaplain. Before that, I spent five years as priest-in-charge of four rural villages, while working half-time as chaplain for the Prison Service. I’m married to Sue, an Occupational Therapist working in the NHS, and have two children: Emma (who will going to university this Autumn) and Thomas, who is in his early twenties.

I grew up in a churchgoing family, but it was music that kept me in the Church when I might have found other ways to fill my Sundays. Starting as a treble at the age of 7, I discovered an overwhelming passion for the Anglican choral tradition which has never left me. Known to sing a slightly dubious bass on occasion, I persuaded my future wife (a tolerant woman) to agree to Choral Evensong as our first date and wrote a PhD on the history of cathedral choral foundations in late Tudor and early Stuart times. Today, I remain convinced of the power of this tradition to speak to new generations of the love, beauty and majesty of God. The confidence I find at St Mary’s that music can be a creative resource for mission and growth resonates strongly with me.

I’m sorry it will take so long to disentangle myself from my current role but look forward very much to joining you in December. You will be frequently in my prayers and perhaps, if you have a moment to spare, you might keep us in yours.