A Message from Rev’d Andrew Birks
I am so excited to be joining you as your new Vicar from 1st November 2023. It’s been a long wait since the announcement was made, but finally the time has come to prepare for leaving West Sussex to join you up in South Cambridgeshire! I have thoroughly enjoyed my nine years of ministry in the Diocese of Chichester, but have felt for some time now that God is calling me to something new.
After leaving SEITE (South East Institute for Theological Education) in 2014, I served my curacy in Portslade and Mile Oak from 2014-2019, then Bexhill from 2019-2020 before moving to The Parish of Chidham, and The Parish of Funtington, West Stoke & Sennicotts in 2020 to take up my first incumbency as Priest-in-Charge. Chidham is set on a peninsular within Chichester Harbour which is recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty, and Funtington is within the South Down National Park.
I have experienced ministry both in urban and rural ministry, but I do prefer being a rural priest. I have always sought to ensure those traditional rural services such as Plough Sunday, Rogation Sunday and Harvest are always in the calendar helping to bring our community together in the name of God and giving thanks to all those who work the land - working the land being a common theme throughout the Bible!
I am so grateful to the team at Melbourn and Meldreth for making me so welcome and for being so patient in waiting for me to join you all. Huge thanks to all who have carried the extra burdens throughout the vacancy, and especially to the team of clergy who have helped to ‘keep the show on road’.
I will seek to be very much a strong presence in the community, taking mission and ministry both to the people in our pews, but also to the community outside our church buildings. I have a strong belief in putting the church at the heart of the community and the community at the heart of the church – something you will hear me say very often. We are all disciples, and all on a faith journey together and I firmly believe that our church should be open and welcoming to all who wish to come and join us in prayer and praise of God; a place where they can feel comfortable being in fellowship with one another and contribute to our mission where they feel able.
I will seek to offer your regular Sunday and weekday services as usual, but I am also very keen to offer you other things such as advent courses, bible study classes, group sessions, and lots, lots more – but that won’t happen overnight, you might have to allow me some time to settle in first!
I hope that as I do settle in, you will see me as very approachable, and I am keen to hear from people what you would like to see from your parish, and from me. All your views will help us to shape our Mission Action Plan which will be reviewed in early 2024.
It is a huge privilege to be asked to be your next Vicar - I can’t wait to meet you all!
With Prayers and Best Wishes