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IMAGE CREDIT: St. Nicolas church, Pevensey

Tony Windross, the new ‘Vicar of Pevensey’ is to write a regular column in the Bay Life Journal. Here online, on the same day that his first column appears in the newspaper (edition 17 published today and available in local newsagents), he offers his welcome to the people of the parish.—Bay Life 14 April, 2018

Welcome message, Father Tony Windross

After a whole series of trials and tribulations, I’ve finally got here, and been officially licensed as the new Vicar of Pevensey (technically I’m the Priest-in-Charge, but that’s a bit of a mouthful). The terms of my licence mean that I’ll be around for a maximum of three years, and possibly a bit less. Which means I need to get to know people pretty quickly.

The traditional vicar, of course, lives in a vicarage, which is usually near the church. So people know where to go if they need to find him (or her). But as there’s not a vicarage in Pevensey, I can’t live in it. At the moment I’m in Bexhill, until we can get into our home in Eastbourne. But as I’ll never be on the spot, I won’t be out-and-about in the community as much as I’d like to be. And because my appointment is only part-time, I’ll be around even less!

But whilst a physical presence would be best – an online presence is a lot better than nothing at all. And so I was happy to accept the invitation to write a regular column – which I hope will lead to all sorts of conversations, either in person or echoing through cyber-space. I ought to say that I don’t go out of my way looking for arguments – but don’t tend to do bland either. Which means I never shy away from controversy – and if I ruffle your feathers, find someone nice to smooth them down.

A bit of autobiography might be helpful (even if it isn’t – you’ve got it anyway). In broad terms, I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years – and a vicar for over 20 years. For the first half of my time in teaching, I was fiercely opposed to religion. It seemed just too weird and silly for anyone even vaguely sensible to take seriously. Gradually (very gradually) things changed. And eventually (very eventually!) the poacher turned gamekeeper. But (and this is the curious bit) – I never gave up on the poaching.

Maybe more of that another time.

EDITOR COMMENT: We welcome Father Tony Windross, the new ‘vicar of Pevensey’, to the pages of the Journal. The work of Tony Windross as a writer and author is marked. The Thoughtful Guide to Faith (2003) received interesting reviews. John Shelby “Jack” Spong, a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church and a liberal Christian theologian, said this book will escape the walls of the church and be debated everywhere.