As Churchwarden, it is my duty to announce that The Bishop of Portsmouth, together with Team Rector Richard England have appointed Mother Samantha to one of two newly created roles of Team Vicar in Gosport North Team Ministry. This is a key part of our Diocesan vision and an exciting opportunity for her to help grow the church of God in this newly formed parish. Following interviews, and with the support of the lay parish representatives Samantha will serve together with The Revd Jude Greenfield for the benefice of Bridgemary, Elson and Rowner. We expect them to take up these substantive appointments as soon as possible after Easter.
I would like to extend on your behalf our congratulations to her on her appointment as we say goodbye from the parishes of Ryde, All Saints’ with Swanmore, St Michael and All Angels, and to express our thanks for all the positivity she has brought to us in the time that she has been here under difficult and trying circumstances.
Whilst it is inevitable that we shall experience sadness and some uncertainty at this news, it is wonderful to think that another parish may benefit from the opportunity to experience her enthusiasm, vision and unwavering faith, as we have done over the past year.
We shall remain truly grateful for her determination in achieving what was right for us, and the direction and vision that Mother Samantha has guided All Saints’ in, together with the relationships she has founded with so many people throughout our community both within and outside of the church. She leaves us with a dedicated and proactive leadership team who are committed to bringing God’s vision to life as we gradually return to a more normal day to day existence and enter a new period of exciting transformation and opportunity.
Mother Samantha’s final Sunday will be Easter Day and I would like to take this opportunity to wish her well in her new post and to leave her with an open invitation to visit us at any time, for which she will always receive the warmest of welcomes.
I can also announce that the Bishop of Portsmouth has appointed the Reverend James Percival as Interim Priest in Charge of Ryde, All Saints and Swanmore, St. Michael’s and All Angels.
James grew up in Worcester Park, Surrey, and was a chorister at his local parish church until football took over, though singing carried on too. He was confirmed while studying at New College, Oxford and worked as a barrister in family and criminal law before (rather shyly) exploring a calling to ordained ministry. After training at Ripon College Cuddesdon, he served as Curate in Redhill, Team Vicar in Sanderstead and Team Rector of Limpsfield and Tatsfield until the middle of last year. Having served for 17 years of wonderfully varied ministry in the Croydon area of the diocese of Southwark, he moved to Portsmouth last summer with his family.
He is married to Kathryn and they have two children, Dominic (19) and Eliza (16), and an affectionate, strong-willed Australian Labradoodle called Polly. Kathryn has been Canon Chancellor and Vice Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral since December 2019.
James often finds God in music and sport, not least playing the saxophone, the English choral tradition, West Ham United FC, rugby and cricket. Over the years, James has served also as Chaplain to the Air Cadets, the Diocesan Mothers’ Union, and the British Legion, and is presently (and will continue as) part-time Chaplain at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.
James is delighted by this calling to Ryde and becoming the only parish priest in the Church of England to commute by hovercraft. It is a joy to be able to see the spire from the end of his road, and he is looking forward to sharing the next part of the road ahead.
28 February 2021