Letter from our new Associate Priest, Revd. Robb Wainwright
I hope and pray that the recent announcement of my appointment as the House for Duty Associate Priest in the Ripon Cathedral Benefice for Bishop Monkton and Burton Leonard parishes is cause for some rejoicing as we rejoice that God is calling us to be with you. We live in very different times and I’m sure that had you asked me to speculate I would never have thought to have been interviewed and appointed via the internet!
At the moment I am not sure exactly when my wife Lindy and I will move from the beauty and sunshine here in south Pembrokeshire but the closing odds are on mid-August which we then hope and pray will give us the opportunity to take a delayed annual holiday to Denmark.
We are very happy to be returning to Yorkshire having left from Selby nearly eight years ago. We have never had the opportunity to live and work in the north west of the county and are very much looking forward to the beauty and diversity of the area around Ripon, and living and working in two such beautiful villages. We are very much looking forward to meeting you all in whatever way is allowed at the time of our move and thereafter.
I have been asked to write something for the parish magazines for July so do not wish to steal any thunder from that article but would like to give you a potted history for the Two Village Churches website so that you can all learn something about Lindy and I before we arrive.
I am 68 years old and was born just outside Rotherham in April 1952. At age seven my family, mum, dad and two brothers (one either side of me) moved to the small village of Ponterwyd in central Wales, fourteen miles inland from Aberystwyth were we lived until 1963. My father was an engineer for the CEGB and was on the staff building the hydroelectric power scheme in the Rheidol Valley. I moved back to Yorkshire in 1962 to live with an aunt for a year and take my 11+ exam without any welsh content and then re-joined my family in Selby, the new family home.
I was educated at Read School, Drax for my O levels and then the new Selby Grammar School for A levels before joining the RAF as a university cadetship officer (UCO) in 1971.
I attended Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry (now Coventry University) opposite the cathedral in the city centre. I flew with the University of Birmingham Air Squadron out of RAF Shawbury in Shropshire and was the very first navigator student (UCO) to fly solo at that time. I did my officer Training at RAF Henlow and my navigator training at RAF Finningly near Doncaster before being posted to RAF Lossiemouth and No 8 AEW squadron flying Shackletons. During this time at Finningley I was introduced to Lindy (we were matchmaked/match made?).
Lindy and I married in Dublin, her home town, in August 1978 and have two children, Andy and Dave born in 1980 and 1982. They are both married and each has two daughters.
My RAF career continued with tours at RAF Boulmer, RAF Waddington and RAF Rheindahlen in Germany with side trips to the Falkland Islands in Sept 1982 and Belize two years later. I retired from the air force in April 1990 and we went back to live in Selby.
Over the next 20 years I took courses in computing and began to build computers and train people to use them, beginning at Selby College and then going freelance and working for many large corporations and government departments including an eight month stint with the foreign office working in a number of places around the world.
In 1999 I was recommended for training as a priest and attended the Northern Ecumenical Ordination Course based in Durham and was ordained deacon in York Minster on 30 th June 2002 and Priest in 2003. I served my curacy in the villages of Barlby and Riccall just north of Selby and returned as the NSM assistant priest to Rev’d Keith Jukes at Selby Abbey in 2005.
My parents lived with the family from 1995 in our Selby home, my Dad died in 2003 and when Mum died in 2012 at age 95 I realised that I could take up a stipendiary post. Having looked at a role in New Zealand, I found I was too old to go there, then saw and applied for the post of Team Vicar at Tenby St Mary’s in the diocese of St Davids and was duly appointed. In 2018 the diocese restructured and, without having to move house, I became Priest in Charge of five churches in the lower half of the Narberth and Tenby Local Ministry Area (a super parish with twenty churches and four stipendiary priests).
Lindy spent her early working life as a PA and trainer of secretarial staff. She got a Cert Ed from Leeds University and an MA in Information Technology Management from Sheffield University in 2002. She ran the specialist Knowledge Transfer side of an IT company in Leeds for 10 years before becoming an independent Business Management Consultant when we moved to Wales. She has spent the last three years working a few days a month with the St Davids diocesan office and St Davids Cathedral advising and organising staffing reviews and appointments. She is an accomplished flower arranger and cook and specialises in celebration cakes and sugar flowers. She is also a graduate of Betty’s Cookery School having taken many day courses there and completing the five day Advanced Cooking Certificate course. Her other passion is singing and she was a member of Selby Abbey Choir for twenty years and of the St Mary’s, Tenby Choir since 2012.
Please pray for us and the communities of the five churches we are leaving here in the Narberth and Tenby LMA as we and they begin what can be a painful time of change for some. We, and they, will pray for you as you await your new associate priest with all the trepidation that that can bring. (I don’t bite, honestly!)
Every Blessing to you all as we look forward to serving Christ together in the Two Village Churches and their communities.
LMA Priest in Charge of the churches of East Williamston, Penally, Gumfreston, Manorbier and St Florence.
Lay Development Officer and Fellowship of Vocations Coordinator for St Davids Diocese