Our Rector: The Revd James Stickings
The first thing you may notice about me is that I have an accent that’s very difficult to place. I was born in Canada and lived in various countries as a child, before settling in England (my father is originally from Kent) at the age of seventeen. I read History at university and also did a lot of singing as a choral scholar in my college choir. Just after university I married Gillian; early in our marriage we spent three years living and working in Ghana, where she was born and brought up. Our daughter Judith was born in 2003, whilst I was a teacher at Bradfield College, just west of Reading.
It was at Bradfield that I started to act on the niggling feeling that I should explore the possibility of ordination. To cut a long story short, we eventually moved to Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford, for my theological training, and I was ordained deacon in 2012 and priest in 2013. My curacy was at Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry, famous for being C.S. Lewis’ parish church.
But of course there’s more to me than a list of dates! I enjoy cooking elaborate and complicated meals (but the cleaning up less so). Music (mainly classical and jazz, but I’m open to any good music) is deeply important to me. (One of my favourite quotes is by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”) I like to read modern fiction, history, and poetry; and I enjoy watching sport and going for long walks.
Maybe the most relevant thing about me, though, in terms of my new role as Rector, is that I am passionate about commending the richness and integrity of the Christian way to our world, and also about providing a warm welcome to any and all who want to explore it with us. I’m also convinced that the Church has an important role to play in serving local communities.
I hope this will give you some idea of who I am. Gillian, Judith and I look forward to getting to know you over the weeks, months, and years to come; and I’m very excited about serving the parishes of Rotherfield Peppard and Kidmore End & Sonning Common as Rector.
Telephone: 0118 9721459
Our Associate Priest: The Revd Sheila Walker
Greetings from the West Country!
We’ve been living in Devon for quite a while: my husband, Tim, most of his life, working with various branches of Lloyd’s Bank and playing jazz (and barn dance) all over the county and beyond. I came via Salisbury and London, following various jobs including teaching French, writing and editing – starting by anglicising the Living Bible – assorted roles with the Careers Service and most recently as a ‘casual’ librarian (read that how you will…)
My Christian journey really began in earnest at university in Exeter, where we were privileged to have a number of good speakers who encouraged us to explore the Bible’s teaching and think through what it meant for us. Since then, I’ve been involved with several different churches: most recently as a Reader with a team of twelve rural churches based in Ottery St Mary (of flaming tar barrels fame), then as Curate with four neighbouring churches: so spending Sundays negotiating narrow lanes, horses, tractors and convoys of cyclists is quite familiar!
Part of the reason for our coming to Oxfordshire is that my son and daughter live in Wallingford and Henley respectively, with the consequent threat/promise of three grandchildren to mind from time to time. We’re looking forward to being able to spend more time with them, as well as exploring the Chilterns: Tim has already acquired the relevant maps and we are enjoying the many walks we can do from our front door. We also enjoy painting, music and making curries (Tim); writing, puzzles and making flapjack (Sheila); reading and walking (both).
That’s of course when we’re not busy getting to know our three churches and their respective communities, and discovering how our new roles will unfold: so we’ll look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks, and being able to put names to faces!
Telephone: 0118 9724872
Our Curate: The Revd Stewart Morgan
I was born in Scotland to a military family and the first fourteen years of my life were abroad, moving with the South Wales Borderers to the Middle East, Africa, the Far East, and Europe. It was a wonderful life, bound by strict discipline, honour and commitment. These values were to play a key part in my future life.
On our final return to the UK, I attended Caernarvon Grammar School in North Wales, where I later met Val in the sixth form. We became good friends and subsequently married and have three children. Val is a retired Head Teacher of Valley Road School in Henley.
In my earlier days, my burning passion was competing in motor sport. I competed in International rallying and Saint Bruno Tobacco was my sponsor. I worked in the Automotive Sector for leading Japanese and European companies where I enjoyed a successful career as Head of Marketing and Advertising. I subsequently headed up a marketing services provider for UK based charities.
The seeds of my Christian faith were from childhood and this faith has remained throughout my life. The real impact of God’s presence came to me when I needed him most. I had lost both my separated parents within days of each other. It was through God’s intervention, help, and support that I realised death is not the end, but the beginning. It is only through our faith and belief that we can cope and overcome some of the darkest moments in our lives.
In the last decade, I have pursued my calling to the Church by initially gaining a BA Hons degree in theology and religion. After licensing by the Bishop of Dorchester as a Licensed Lay Minister, there followed several years training within the Oxford Diocese. Happily, in July this year (2017), I was ordained as a Deacon at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford to serve the parishes of Rotherfield Peppard and Kidmore End & Sonning Common. My role as Ordained Deacon will culminate in my ordination as a Priest in 2018.
Telephone: 0118 9723263