I trained as a Reader in Durham more than 30 years ago, and took Evensong regularly for a church in a farming community, and well as leading prayers in Durham Cathedral. I retired from organ building to my mother-in-law’s house in Heytesbury in 2010, whilst studying for an MA in Theology and Ministry.
I value being a non-clergy member of the team in the UWVT and attendance at regular staff meetings. I enjoy preaching, and taking services, most often Matins and Evensong, but also funerals and the crib service in Heytesbury.
I train the church choir (assisted and supported by Mark Venning, whose contribution to the choir’s success should not be under-rated). The annual ‘Service of Light’ at Advent is a ‘choir-special’ which has been my responsibility since 2011.
I compile the monthly hymn lists, welcoming suggestions from the clergy and others. I devised special services to mark the centenaries of the King James Bible in Sutton Veny in 2011 and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in Sherrington in 2012.
Other special services I have helped create include the celebration of Peter and Paul for Heytesbury’s Patronal Festival in 2014, and a service with readings and music for the 150th anniversary of the restoration of Heytesbury church. The choir’s performance of ‘The Hallelujah Chorus’ was magnificent.
It is with great joy that we welcome to the team Jonathan Hiscox, who was licensed to the UWVT by the Bishop of Ramsbury, Rt Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey on 7th March 2021. Jonathan brings with him a huge amount of experience, knowledge and a passion for rural ministry and will be a wonderful addition to our team. Below Jonathan introduces himself in his own words....
My sense of a calling to ministry goes back a very long way…it was after a service in the village Church in Somerset where we lived when, aged 6 years, I said to my parents “I want to be a part-time Vicar.”
As you can imagine, they were somewhat ‘intrigued’ by this and as the years went on, so my sense of calling grew until O Level options were being chosen with thoughts of ordination in mind. It must have been quite a shock for the teachers at Whitstone School, Shepton Mallet, to hear this though it was suggested that, instead of A levels, I took a Business Studies Diploma (at Strode College, Street) which was a real blessing and has stood me in good stead over the years as I learned about accounting, computers, economics and typing among so many other subjects during this time.
Further education included reading theology at University College, Cardiff and, after working for a Church in Bedford and a night shelter in Leeds, I undertook my studies for ordination at Queen’s College, Birmingham. This was an especial blessing as, being the child of a Methodist father and Anglican mother (which gave me a very practical insight into grass-roots ecumenism) as I joined with members of the Methodist and United Reformed Church as well as Church of England colleagues to train for ministry whilst learning more about each other’s denominations as well as our own.
However, the countryside has always been close to my heart and, having lived in a group of 3 country parishes on the quarrying side of the Mendip hills, I was pleased to return to Somerset for my Curacy and then as a Team Vicar with responsibility for 7 villages with 2 schools and 2 nursing homes.
I also enjoyed spending time with the local farming community as rural affairs has always been one of my interests – however it has been many years since I milked a cow by machine or by hand…
After 8 years as Team Vicar, during which time I invited my parents to live with me (though my Dad sadly died in 2000, my Mum still lives with me), I moved to become a ‘country Rector’ in this Diocese with responsibility for 3 schools and 2 units of sheltered accommodation in addition to the parishes.
One of the privileges I was blessed with during this time was to become chaplain to the local branch of the Royal British Legion and I still retain my membership.
On leaving this post due to problems with stress, I spent a year in Chippenham before moving to Warminster to start work as a care assistant at Sutton Veny House Nursing Home (though I am now a member of the bank staff), and a house move into this Upper Wylye Team gave me the privilege of joining with many of the congregations in Sunday worship and weekday meetings.
In terms of personal spirituality, I find myself enjoying elements of Franciscan and Ignatian Spirituality (particularly the importance placed on serving others, reverence for creation and am in the early stages of exploring the use of imagination in prayer).
Over the years that I have lived here I have prayerfully sought God’s Will concerning a return to a form of ministry which has culminated in my licensing, by the Bishop of Ramsbury, as an Associate Priest in the Upper Wylye Valley Team – something which is, for me, an honour, privilege and great joy.
As you can guess from all this, I look forward to coming alongside you in our journey of faith.
If you would like to contact me, my details are:
Tel: 01985 851250 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lay Worship Leaders
David Shaw 850372, Henry Collins 850193, Vincie Abbott 850239, Gill Boxall 851171, Stephen and Barbara Luscombe 840830
Lay Pastoral Assistants
Codford Henry Collins 850193
NortonBavant Didee Ackworth 840134
Heytesbury Ali Tebbs 841192
Sutton Veny Richard Jackman 840899