Church of England Diocese of St.Albans Holy Trinity, Stevenage

Parish Vicar Vacancy - Appointment Announcement

The next vicar of Holy Trinity and Christ the King churches in Stevenage will be the Rev Dr Ruth Carroll, born in the USA, a Morris dancer and linguist. She is currently assistant curate in the Alford Group of churches in Lincolnshire.

She fell in love with life in Britain while studying for a master's degree at Oxford, where she also joined the Church of England and took up Morris dancing.

Born in Massachusetts, Ruth went to University in Washington DC. "My professor advised me to go to England if I wanted to study the history of the English language, so I went to Oxford for my master's and then a doctorate. I loved living in England!" she said.

Her academic career took her to Finland where she lectured in English linguistics and became a research fellow at the Academy of Finland. "Even once I moved to Finland I kept some of my adopted English ways - I joined the Helsinki Morris dancers, and worshipped with the Anglicans," said Ruth.

She grew up in a Christian home, and church has always played an important part in her life. Gradually she recognised her calling to the priesthood and trained on the Eastern Region Ministry Course - the same course completed by the other priests in the parish, Associate Minister the Rev Andy Thomas and assistant Curate the Rev Fiona Souter.

Following her ordination, Ruth exchanged her academic life for that of a full-time priest and she has recently finished her curacy in rural Lincolnshire. Her husband Keith, who lived in Finland for 40 years, hails from Hull. He trained to become a Lay Reader in the Church while Ruth was studying for the priesthood.

"I'm looking forward to coming to Stevenage, getting to know the people of Holy Trinity and Christ the King, and sharing their hopes for the future," she said.

She will be instituted at Holy Trinity on September 26 by the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith and the Archdeacon of Hertford, the Ven Janet Mackenzie. Ruth succeeds Canon Vincent Oram, who now works in an Anglican parish in Spain.