Rev. Barry Jackson our new Priest in Charge.
BARRY was born in 1965 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. His family moved several times as he was growing up, including spending 5 years in Africa, but ended up back in Harrogate in 1981.
Barry met his wife Sarah at Sheffield University where they both studied Mechanical Engineering. Barry pursued a career in engineering and project/operations management before feeling called into ministry. Sarah has recently started working for Warwick Business School helping their graduates to move on in their careers. Prior to that Sarah worked in training and development roles for the last 18 years within IMI, a global engineering company.
Barry & Sarah have three children Alex (14) who enjoys rock climbing and definitely prefers facebook to doing her homework, Laura (13) who loves drama and is involved in several different drama groups and William (9) who loves football, cricket, golf and, in fact, any sort of sport.
Barry first became interested in Christianity in 1987 after reading The Cross and the Switchblade. The book tells the true story about a dynamic Christian community that made a dramatic difference by working with drug addicts, alcoholics and gangs of New York city. ‘I was inspired by the idea of making a difference in people’s lives and I wanted to be part of a community like that,’ Barry says, ‘I knew stories of a Jesus from long ago, but until then I didn’t realise that he was still active in the world.’
However, Barry didn’t know any Christians and did not relate to the local church in Sheffield that he visited, so he explored Christianity on his own, mainly through books, gradually learning more about Jesus. Many years later a new vicar came to their local church in Coventry and he invited Barry & Sarah on an Alpha course. ‘It was on that course that my eyes were opened to what Christianity is all about,’ Barry explains, ‘and I discovered the source of the inspiration for the Christian community I had read about back in 1987.’
Barry trained for ministry at St John’s college in Nottingham and in 2005 he started his Curacy at St Mary’s church in Leamington Spa. ‘18 years after reading the Cross and the Switchblade God brought me to work in a church that makes a dramatic difference in the lives of the drug addicts, alcoholics and homeless in Leamington Spa. I’ve been privileged to work with a great team at St Mary’s and it has been great seeing God helping many people to turn their lives around.’
Barry says he has twin passions for building people and building community. ‘I love to see people grow and achieve things they never thought they could, and I love to see communities working together to make a difference.’
In his spare time Barry enjoys running, playing games and rock climbing . Amongst other things Sarah also enjoys running but she takes it more seriously than Barry; she has competed in many half-marathons and triathlons and ran in three London Marathons.
Due to some problems with housing Barry and his family will not be moving immediately, but Barry will be based in the study of the vicarage on Little Pittern and will be around in the villages of the benefice. So when you see him out and about please say hello!
Parish Profile – Executive Summary
The six parishes of Combroke, Kineton, Radway, Ratley, Warmington and Shotteswell are in the south-eastern corner of Warwickshire. Edgehill is the furthest extreme of the Cotswolds and the villages are built of local honey-coloured Hornton ironstone. The parishes are the site of the first battle of the English Civil War in 1642. Farming is still the major local industry, but many residents work in Leamington Spa, Banbury, Coventry, or London. Kineton Ordnance Base covers a substantial proportion of the local land (the Vicar of Gaydon is the base chaplain).
The six villages which make up the benefice each have their own distinctive community life. The benefice is centred on Kineton, where the new incumbent will live (the suitability of the present vicarage is currently under consideration by the Diocesan Parsonages Committee). Kineton is the largest of the villages (approx. 3000 population), with a range of local amenities including Primary and Secondary schools, a bank, a library and various shops. The other villages vary in size (all have populations of around 300) and are vibrant local communities. Cultural activities in the villages are often linked with the church buildings: for example, concerts at Ratley and Kineton, and an annual art exhibition at Warmington. Church life and community life overlap considerably in the villages.
A decision was made before Christopher Lamb retired as Rector of the Edgehill Churches in 2006 to unite the parishes under the vicar of Kineton, supported by a house-for-duty priest living at Warmington Rectory. The benefice came into being in February 2007 when Charmaine Host was licensed as priest-in-charge of the four Edgehill parishes. Richard Cooke, then Diocesan Adviser for CME, was licensed as Associate Minister at the same time.
It was recognised that it would take time for the parishes to evolve into a group. Considerable progress has been made in this direction in the last two years, as the following actions demonstrate:
Churchwardens, clergy and Readers meet four or five times a year for support and information-sharing as well as to consider wider strategy.
A part-time, paid, administrator for the six parishes was appointed in the summer of 2008 and she carries out all the basic administration for the parishes, such as organising clergy cover, booking weddings and banns, liaising with funeral directors and supervising fees.
Service patterns were reviewed in early 2008, approved by all the APCMs, and a new pattern instituted in September 2008. The aim was to focus as far as possible on a regular, sustainable pattern of worship which would grow the more viable congregations within the group and build on those lay-led services which had flourished. The new pattern has been well-received and is designed to be staffed by one full-time priest, a part-time Associate Minister, and four Readers, with lay-led village services taking place once a month in Combroke, Shotteswell, Radway and Ratley.
It is obvious that there is an increased willingness to travel to worship in other churches within the group, making the service schedule more flexible. United services take place several times a year and are well-supported, such as an evening Advent Carol service at Radway in November 2008, a benefice eucharist at Radway with Bishop Christopher in March 2009, and a ‘Mission Focus’ service at Shotteswell in May 2009.
A new website has been created in the spring of 2009 to provide a stronger sense of identity for the group.
Outlook (Kineton and Combroke) and the Parish Link share material and are delivered to every home in the parishes each month.
A ‘Six Church Walk’ Sunday has been held in September 2007 and October 2008, walking to all six churches and taking in services on the way.
Across the benefice as a whole, taking each parish’s views into account, the following would seem to be the most important considerations for a new minister.
Encourage and develop the already considerable ministry of lay people at Kineton, especially in partnership with the Ministry Leadership Team;
Work to encourage lay people in the other five parishes to take more formal ministry roles, such as leading worship, alongside the considerable administrative work already carried by them;
Recognise and value the opportunities offered by rural community life and develop strong relationships with key people in each village;
Be committed to the continuing life of the church in each village, encouraging and inspiring wardens and PCCs to take responsibility for the future of ministry in their own parishes;
Take a strategic role in seeking to find and share a vision for ministry and mission across the whole benefice, together with the wardens and Readers.
The parishes recognise that we are in a time of change and development across the Church of England as a whole and that this calls for new patterns of ministry locally. Helping the parishes to face the challenges which this situation brings is an exciting and worthwhile opportunity. We are looking for someone who has a strategic grasp; is warm-hearted and willing to work with a variety of people; who believes deeply that God loves rural communities; and who is willing to work with us to set the worship of Jesus Christ at the heart of our villages.
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