Barrie Green was licensed as Priest-in-Charge of St Pauls Parish in Bristol on Sunday 1st November.
Barries has been ordained for 30 years and had been Team Rector in Dronfield, a market town south of Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District, for nearly 14 years and was looking for a new challenge.
I had loved Dronfield, Barrie reflects. I had good colleagues both clerical and lay, excellent ecumenical relationships and good links with the community. I was Chair of the House of Clergy, something I had been doing for 9 years, and enjoyed that role too. But children had now left home, more or less, and both Ainslie, my wife, and I were looking for something different.
Things started to come together when Ainslie was appointed Head of Counselling and Psychological Services at the University of the West of England, an area she has tremendous experience in. The agreement was, whoever got a job first, the other would follow. So Bristol it was and just at that time the advert for St Pauls, Bristol appeared in the Church Times. I had been born in the East End of London and am really a city person so I applied, was interviewed and appointed.
Reflecting on how things are going, Barrie says, I have been in post for nearly four weeks and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Everything here is new and so colourful and diverse. The church school is 90% Muslim and Im a foundation governor. Ive traded in a 35 strong robed choir for a Gospel Choir. And on Sunday they got me swinging the incense, not something Ive done very often before. I have some talented and committed clergy and laity in both the parish and the Inner City Partnership with whom to share ministry.
The Vicarage needed a good deal of work doing and Barrie spent a happy two weeks alongside the painters, carpenters and plumbers decorating 5 of the rooms. It was good to do some real work for a change! he says.
Ironically, Barrie and Ainslies son, Matthew, a Marine Biologist working in Bath has moved back in with them. Ive been maintaining Matts ancient Camper Van and he's been encouraging me to join the Bristol Climbing Centre next door to the vicarage in the old St Werburghs Church which he already knew long before we knew we were coming here. Well see.
But Ive always tried to keep fit and Im finding Bristols bike friendliness a great boon. I have dusted down my old drop-handle- barred racing bike (ca 1965) and can be seen all around the parish dicing with the traffic. I am also keen to join a gym though the boxing academy next door to St Agnes Church looks a bit serious.