Meet Steph - our new Associate Vicar
Steph joined Cheam Parish in May 2021 and has spent the last few months trying to get to know as many people as she can (but still hasn’t met everyone!). She also goes by the title of ‘Pioneer Priest’ - but we’re not sure what that means and so we’ve asked her a few questions to find out more.
So firstly Steph - tell us a bit more about yourself
Before joining the Cheam Parish team - I was already quite local as I was Vicar of Christ Church with St Philip in Worcester Park. In fact we (my husband and three children) still live in Worcester Park. I work part-time (Tuesday and Sundays) as a Pioneer Priest in Cheam and the rest of the week I work as a Spiritual Director. It’s exciting times with Nick, Beth, Francesca and - the incoming new member of the team - Hannah, as we’ll now have a full complement of clergy supporting Cheam Parish.
And what exactly is a Pioneer Priest?
Yes - I know - it sounds a bit daunting! But what it means, in real terms, is that I’m here to help develop new ways of doing things, expanding the growth and reach of the church.
I hope to spend time connecting with people outside of Church and creating new ways of doing and being Church together in our community. I’ll also be looking at how we can work more collaboratively across the patch, gathering together a team of people who have vision and imagination for the future, and the desire to make it a reality. So, by all means, bring your ideas to me and I’d love to help you make them happen!
So how does this fit in with your work as a Spiritual Director? ( and am I the only one who doesn’t know what a Spiritual Director is?)
I’m in Cheam two days a week but the rest of the week I work as a Spiritual Director - I accompany individuals (and not just clergy - spiritual direction is for everyone!) on their journeys of faith. You’re not the only one who doesn’t know what spiritual direction is: it’s one of the hidden gems of the church, a really ancient practice, and I feel called to make it more widely recognised and accessible to ordinary people.
As a Spiritual Director, I bring my gifts of discernment and the ability to enable others to respond creatively to the work of God’s Spirit in their lives. Prayer and contemplation are at the heart of what I seek to do and – with that in mind – I’ve started ‘Holy Ground’, a Facebook group for followers of Jesus, curious spiritual seekers and everyone in between! I offer a weekly service of Night Prayer (Tuesdays at 9pm) and will be running regular Quiet Days and other opportunities to deepen the spiritual life of our community. You can find the group on Facebook by searching for ‘@holygroundcheamwp’.
Thank you Steph - so how can we meet you if we haven’t already…
I believe passionately that these are exciting times for our local area, and I look forward to seeing – with you – what God is doing in this place, and how we might join in!
Come and say hello in church or drop me an email/text/Whatsapp on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07395 903020.
You might see me around the village as I am trying to cycle a bit more! Do say hello!