Our Diocesan Bishop :
The Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave, 99th Bishop of Lichfield, grew up in a small village in Northamptonshire. He studied mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, and, after a year spent as a labourer in a factory in Birmingham, trained for the ministry at England’s leading theological college – Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford.
He was ordained Deacon in 1982 and Priest in 1983 in the Diocese of Peterborough. After more than twenty years of ministry in Leicestershire and japan, he became Archdeacon of Southwark in 2004. He was Canon Missioner at Southwark Cathedral from 2010 to 2012, chair of the Southwark and London Housing Association, and Anglican Borough Dean of Southwark. Prior to this he had been Inter-Faith Relations Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary of the Churches’ Commission on Inter-Faith Relations.
Bishop Michael was awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours list in 2011 for services to inter-faith relations in London. From 2012 he was Area Bishop of Woolwich in the Diocese of Southwark and also the Diocesan Warden of Readers.
He chairs the Council of Christians and Jews, is co-chair of the Anglican-Lutheran Society and the Church of England’s Mission Theology Advisory Group.
Bishop Michael has written extensively on inter-faith issues and on questions of religion and human rights. He has edited six volumes on Christian-Muslim relations, is the author of ‘Trinity and Inter-Faith Dialogue’ (Peter Lang 2003), and has contributed thirty journal articles and book chapters.
Bishop Michael is married to Dr Julia Ipgrave, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities at Roehampton University. Michael and Julia have three grown-up sons, one of whom is married to a German and another to a Russian. They have a grand-child in Germany. Michael and Julia are keen on all-things Japanese, and also enjoy walking and exploring Staffordshire and Shropshire on foot. This includes pilgrimages around the Diocese.
Our Team Priests:
The Rev'd Dr. Jason Phillips Our Team Rector
Father Jason trained at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, where he undertook a Master of Ministry degree course. His clergy training placements were varied being at Manchester Cathedral, Soho Parish Church in London and St Giles' Hospice in Whittington.
Strongly shaping Fr Jason's theology and priesthood is the work of the former curate of Soho St Anne's Church, Fr Kenneth Leech. Fr Jason draws spiritual strength from the Benedictine tradition. He undertakes periodic retreats to Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire where his spiritual director resides. Running through his veins too is the Methodist spirituality of his formative years.
Fr Jason joins us from Whittington, Weeford and Hints churches where he was the parish priest. In those parishes he developed positive connections with St Giles Hospice, DMS Whittington Barracks and HMPYOI Swinfen as well as local wedding venues.
Previously, Fr Jason served at Blakenall Heath and Beechdale Churches in Walsall (following Fr Paul Myers, one-time team vicar of Mid Trent!). Before that he served as interim priest at St Mary's, St Chad's and St Leonard's in Stafford. As many will remember, Fr Jason was the curate of Mid Trent, serving his title here.
Alongside being a parish priest, Fr Jason is a Church school inspector with over 14 years' experience. He is well regarded by the Church of England Education Office for his inspection practice. He inspects nationally across diverse contexts.
In the diocese, Fr Jason supports the Diocesan vocations team and mentors candidates exploring vocations.
Fr Jason has always had an interest in inter-denomination and interfaith relations. His doctorate was based on Judaism and Jewish identity. He has written articles for the Journal of The Council of Christians and Jews, of which he is a member (and of which Bishop Michael is the chair). Fr Jason has enjoyed contributing to the Holocaust Memorial Day at Lichfield Cathedral for over 400 students in recent times.
Fr Jason enjoys the theatre and regularly attends shows when it is possible. He enjoys travelling and has visited Australia and Spain many times and also Rome, San Francisco and the Far East, including Japan (two of his godsons live in Tokyo). Fr Jason is also learning Spanish, slowly.
When relaxing Fr Jason enjoys cooking for friends and is especially fond of Italian food and trifle. He has always been grateful for Mid-Trent Churches celebrating his ordination with many varieties of trifle!
The former Bishop of Stafford once said of Fr Jason that,
'he brings a strong spiritual and calm presence coupled with an enthusiasm to drive forward the workings of the Holy Spirit'.
Please join with us in thanking God for bringing Fr Jason to us and praying that his period as our Rector may be one of spiritual and congregational growth.
The Rev'd Mike Cadwallader- Our Team Vicar
I grew up in a village south of Leicester, and with my family I worshiped in the village church every Sunday. At the age of four I became an alter boy alongside my dad, who swung the incense, and by the age of eight I knew that one day I'd be a vicar .......... but spent the next forty years running away from the very idea of it.
At the age of 17, my Head of Sixth Form suggested I should attend a week's conference at St John's College, Durham for those considering Ordained Ministry. I had no idea why she thought I'd be interested and nothing could have been further from my mind. I dutifully attended, but wanted nothing to do with it.
Having left school, I trained as a teacher and taught in various secondary schools. It wasn't until many years later that I finally became unable to ignore the sense that this wasn't where I was meant to be. At last, one cold winter morning before I got in the car, I cried out to Father God and said:
<div>"Lord, grab me by the scruff of the neck andpush and shove me to where you want me to be".</div>
My journey of knocking on the ministry door had begun, and eventually I found myself back at Durham University training to be an Ordained Minister. I served my Curacy in East Hull, having been ordained by Archbishop John Sentamu in York Minster. I then became Priest in Charge of 4 parishes with 5 churches in 10 very rural communities within Coventry Diocese, where I was surprised to find God leading me to set up teams to help me lead two Messy Church services each month, Café Church and an amazing Puppet Ministry, among other things I'd never have dreamed up for myself! The two personal highlights for me were to be invited to speak at Lambeth Palace, addressing Bishops, Archdeacons and high ranking military personnel about our Messy Church and Café Church outreach to a mixed military and civilian community within our parishes; and to be invited by the Bishop of Coventry to spend a month representing Coventry Diocese in Kaduna Diocese in northern Nigeria, where I made great friends with Bishop Timothy and Rev'd Mishael Andy, amongst so many other brothers and sisters in Christ.
During the past 15 years, I've learnt that obeying God's call on your life is not just a journey but an amazing voyage of discovery ….. one where Father God literally takes you to places you never dreamed of going and where, in his strength, you meet challenges you never imagined you'd have the courage to face. And through all my Christian journey, I have been continually blessed when I least expected to be.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go".
Joshua1:9The Rev'd Vivienne Starkie- Our Team Priest and Safeguarding and Inclusion Lead
I was ordained as deacon in 2017 and appointed as Curate here. I have been ordained as priest in
July 2018. I am married to Ian, with two grown up daughters and two grandsons. I never imagined when I was 33 that I would be ordained as a minister when I was 63. I was then a Prosecuting Solicitor with the Crown Prosecution Service with two small children. I only began teaching Sunday School to avoid the embarrassment of chasing around church after a todler!
As the years passed, I increasingly felt I should be doing more. Out of the blue, I decided to take early retirement. Still reeling from this unexpected change of direction, I suddenly realised that God was calling me to ministry and that my professional skills in advocacy, my passion for justice, my concerns for victims of hate crime and domestic violence, were all just preparation for a vocation in ministry. I still resisted: I was just not 'holy' enough! I decided to take a Pathways Course and finally accepted that God was calling me to ministry. I feel very fortunate to be appointed as a curate in the MId-Trent Benefice, a rural team of 10 churches. Each church is unique with a wide range of services from Book of Common Prayer to café-style. Ever since I embraced my vocation, I've felt a bubble of joy within me.
Mr Andy Cooper- Our Team Lay Reader/minister
At my age (mid 60's) - it is something of a novelty being the new kid on the block! But that is not to say I am new in the faith - and like everyone who loves the Lord I know I am on a journey and part of God's plan. My family was by tradition Methodist - but by no means active. My brother and I were parceled off to Sunday School - probably to give Mum and Dad a break, and I guess that was where the seeds of the Christian faith were planted in me.
Through a friend in my secondary school years, I joined the Boys' Brigade where I progressed through the ranks to leader/officer. When the BB Company (which was unusually associated with the local Anglian church rather than the more typical Baptist church) folded, I joined the church's youth group where my faith really became challenged and stretched. However it was when working on a programme called Evangelism Explosion that I was confronted with the simple truth that my salvation was through the grace of God and not by my efforts. I had spent a long time in the church and in Christian youth work - yet only at that point coming to a real faith in Christ!
Over the following years I have lived in Burton and Derby, moving down to Handsacre and then Great Haywood in 2005.
A lot has happened along the way - often not noticed at the time - but looking back…… well that's a different matter. Life is like an ocean voyage - sometimes calm and blissful - often stormy and dangerous. It is only looking back that I see the people and events that God has used in His plan to bring me to where I am now. In spite of my own failings, I can also see that the one ever present thread through my life is the love of God
Meanwhile, I'm still in full time work as an engineer in the food & drink industry, dreaming of retirement!! In my "spare" time, I'm involved in local politics and I'm a member of Stafford Morris Men. When I get the chance, I like to get away in our motorhome with our rescue collie cross.
Mr Stuart Hodson- Our Team Administrator : 01889 - 505414
Mr Alan Hopkin Our Team Magazine Editor: [email protected]