We are delighted to announce the appointment of Rev Alexandra Holmes as the new Associate Priest and Rode Rural Pioneer in Hardington Vale.
The licensing of Alex by The Venerable Anne Gell Archdeacon of Wells was held on 17 June using remote Zoom service.
Here Alexandra sends us a message introducing herself:-
Hello! I’m very much looking forward to joining you at some point in the (hopefully not too distant) future.
I’ve just spent a happy four years as curate in the benefice of Blagdon, Compton Martin and Ubley in the Mendips, enjoying rural ministry, walking my border collie Jessie and training in the dog sport of Hoopers – a bit like low-impact agility. During lockdown it has become quite the spectator sport as people stop to watch us train in the garden! During my time here I’ve also been doing a research Master’s looking at the Church of England’s response to criminal justice issues.
I came to the Diocese of Bath and Wells for my curacy because I have always felt called to rural ministry and there is quite a lot of rural ministry here! Before that, I spent much of my time in the Midlands. I grew up in a village in Staffordshire, then moved away to go to university at Oxford Brookes, went travelling, and spent a year working in an academic library in London. I then returned to my mum’s near Stafford when I became very ill with M.E. which lasted for around 12 years.
While I was still recovering I moved to Stratford-upon-Avon and became very involved with Holy Trinity church, aka Shakespeare’s Church – and it was here that I first felt the callings to ordained ministry and to a particular interest in social action and social justice. One of my main projects ended up being project managing the setting up of the food bank in town. After being selected for ordination training I then moved to theological college at Cuddesdon, near Oxford, for three years where I did a degree in theology as well as the more practical training including placements in pioneering contexts and rural areas. My long summer placement was about as rural as you can get – in outback Australia!
I’m very excited now to be continuing in rural ministry and exploring what pioneering in rural areas looks like. I’m going to be doing this part-time role alongside studying for a PhD with Elaine Graham at the University of Chester – not very local, I realise, but she is a world leading scholar in my subject area! The PhD will look at how the church can become more involved in challenging social injustice rather than just responding to the effects of injustice, which it is already very good at.
I look forward to meeting with you once I move – whether that’s by electronic means, from a safe distance out on a dog walk as I explore the area, or over the garden gate.