Hello, as I will shortly be licensed as your new ‘Priest In Charge’ I thought you might like to know a little about me.
I’m single and for the past three years have been the Curate just down the road in Lavenham and Preston St Mary. I was born in Ipswich (although my parents were living in Hadleigh at the time), but I spent most of my childhood living all around the country, before eventually settling in Sudbury and Great Cornard in my early teens.
I wasn’t raised in a Christian family (put it this way, we never went to church), so I came to faith in my early teens thanks to some wonderful members of my local church who nurtured me and were prepared to answer the many questions of an awkward teen.
I’ve had 20-year career working in the insurance industry, first as a Lloyd’s broker and eventually a commercial underwriter and team manager in London, before being seconded to a ‘6-month project’ in India (and no it had nothing to do with call centres!). This actually ended up lasting for 8 years. The time that I spend in India and working with Indian colleagues has resulted in a love affair with the sub-continent, its people and its culture – and as a bonus I can also cook some very good authentic Indian curries! I love travel and have enjoyed taking groups of parishioners and other interested groups on faith tours to India and to the Holy Land.
After about 25 years of ‘running away from a vocation’, and with support from many friends I gave up the job which I loved (and with it, the regular visits to India) and having somehow got through the Church of England’s selection process, I began full time ordination training! I have been fortunate to have studied at Ripon College Cuddesdon in Oxfordshire where alongside training for ministry I read Theology at Oxford University. I returned home to Suffolk, and was ordained Deacon in Bury St Edmunds Cathedral in 2013 and as Priest the following year.
Whilst I will be sad to move away from Lavenham where I have learned a great deal, I look forward to getting to know you all. I believe very much in a ‘ministry of presence’, of being available, and being part of village and community life – so you’ll find me in the village shops, in the pubs and coffee shops, and in the churches and schools as well – wherever you are I’ll hopefully be there too.
With every blessing.
The Revd. Mark Woodrow