Church of England Diocese of Gloucester Newnham

Revd Rachel Saum: our new Priest-in-Charge!

13 Nov 2020, midnight

The appointment of Revd Rachel Saum was announced on 16th May, and she was licensed as our new priest-in-charge on 28th July. When her appointment was announced she wrote:

'What does one say in a first few words to the people you’re going to serve, love, laugh, cry and pray with over the next few years?

Firstly, thank you to everyone responsible for my appointment. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me. Secondly, I’m delighted to be taking up this post in your parishes. I look forward to the day when I can say: “our parishes”. And thirdly, transitions can be times of fear and apprehension, as well as hope and excitement. That’s true for me. I anticipate it is true for you too.

By way of encouragement, I have been struck again and again over the past year by Jesus’s call to the first disciples. Essentially it was just two words: “Follow me!” Even in their wildest dreams, I don’t think those ordinary people could have imagined the adventure that Jesus was inviting them to participate in, yet thankfully they said “Yes”. I have heard God’s call to Newnham, Awre and Blakeney but I have no idea where my “yes” will lead. What I do know is that those first disciples didn’t journey alone. Jesus was beside them and they had each other. Together, they took one step at a time. I hope that together we can do the same.

Be assured of my prayers over the coming months. Please pray for me too! I look forward to meeting you all soon.'

Rachel introduces herself in the June parish magazine:

'I’m Rachel, and if all goes to plan, I’m going to have the joy, privilege and responsibility of being your vicar from the end of July. If you’re anything like me and love hearing others’ stories, you’ll want to know a bit about me, so briefly… I grew up in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Until this last year I had always worked within the Church. Initially as a youth worker in the Roman Catholic Church, in which I was raised. Subsequently as a lay pioneer in the Church of England, before being ordained in 2016. I completed my training post in a group of villages outside Stratford-upon-Avon, where latterly my focus was contemplative spirituality.

As a walker, gardener and birdwatcher with a first degree in Environmental Geoscience, I’ve always been happiest outside in nature, and have become increasingly committed to climate justice and food security. Last year, as my training post came to an end, I decided to take a sabbatical to learn more about sustainable horticulture. I’ve been able to spend the pandemic volunteering on a food-growing project in Devon, reflecting on the links between soil, soul and society. I am now looking forward to putting down roots in a new community, exploring questions of faith with you and sharing in the events of everyday life.'