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
We arrived in Oxfordshire in September 2017, having lived 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 as a ‘casual’ librarian (read that how you will…)
I was not brought up as a Christian; my journey really began in earnest at university in Exeter, where we were privileged to have a number of excellent 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: 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 rural churches: so spending Sundays negotiating narrow lanes, horses, tractors and convoys of cyclists remains par for the course!
Part of the reason for our coming to Oxfordshire is that my son and daughter live in Wallingford and Sonning Common respectively, with the consequent threat/promise of four grandchildren to keep us on our toes. It’s a real gift to be able to spend more time with them, as well as to explore the Chilterns: we love walking, and the wealth of footpaths is a constant temptation.
As part of the clergy team, I especially enjoy anything that seeks to encourage faith in Christ, whether through Sunday services, home groups or one-to-one conversations.
Telephone: 0118 9724872