The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, is pleased to announce that Revd Sam Sheppard has been appointed as Priest in Charge of the parishes of Christ Church Hengrove and St Augustine's Whitchurch.
Sam was licensed at the beginning of July and following a period of leave will begin his role in August. A service of welcome will take place later in the year.
Revd Becky Waring, Area Dean of Bristol South, said of the appointment:
"As Area Dean of Bristol South, I am delighted that Sam has been appointed, and look forward to working with him as he serves these parishes. Both Christ Church Hengrove and St Augustine's Whitchurch are faithful church communities in parishes that have so much potential. Grouping the parishes together is a new arrangement and we look forward to Sam leading the churches to discover the ways in which they can grow together in mission and ministry, as well as celebrating their unique identities."
Revd Sam Sheppard is in his late twenties and grew up in Kingswood and Chippenham as the youngest of three children. Sam came to faith as a teenager, in St Andrews Chippenham.
He first felt the call to be ordained at around 18, having left school with no prospect of university. Although he felt that he was an unlikely candidate, he went to see his priest and from there began the discernment process. Sam worked as a pastoral assistant in Kingswood Team Ministry in East Bristol working mostly on the council estate in the benefice where they planted a new church.
At 21, having been recommended for training, he went to train at Ripon College Cuddesdon, receiving a BA and becoming the first person in his family to earn a degree. He served his curacy in St Barnabas Knowle West, an evangelical church on an estate in South Bristol.
Revd Sam Sheppard said:
“I am passionate about helping people discern where God is calling them and, having been both a young and unlikely candidate for ordination myself, I am particularly passionate about supporting vocations among young adults and those that don’t necessarily ‘fit the mould’.
“I’m excited about the amazing opportunities ahead of us in Hengrove and Whitchurch and feel privileged to serve there. As a 28 year-old incumbent, I am grateful to the diocese for showing so much faith in me.”
The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, said:
“Sam is a gift to the Church. As we seek to grow younger and more diverse, I am delighted to appoint Sam to this role. I know he will be an asset and an energetic presence in church and community. My prayers for him, the people of Christ Church Hengrove and St Augustine's Whitchurch, and the communities they serve.”