Bishop Chris’s Story
“I was not brought up in a practising Christian home. I can’t remember there being much spiritual conversation, in fact as the eldest of five brothers, it was friends, football and rugby that were the main topics of interest!
“It wasn’t until I went to university that I remember my first proper conversation with someone who was a Christian. I spent some time talking with Christians and they were lovely people but I still didn’t think it was for me.
“I was planning on becoming a scientist and so I researched Christianity just like any project. At first it clarified to me why I didn’t think Christianity made sense. But my Christian friends continued to impress me with their approach to life and to me. Then I was invited to an Advent carol service during which the preacher (David Watson) demolished my rather flimsy objections and at the end of the service I felt I had a decision to make. I had considered the evidence and it was compelling, what was I going to do about it? I chose to step into the faith and seek to follow Christ. So that’s what I did on Advent Sunday in 1973 in York Minster.”
Chris met Ellie while at university and they married there. “I left university with a PhD in Biochemistry and a job offer to continue in fundamental research. After five years I realised I was tired of test tubes and that people are endlessly interesting so I moved into Human Resources. Through my work we did move around and were members of a succession of Anglican churches. I became a Reader and a member of various leadership teams but people would ask from time to time if I had thought about being ordained. I always said no because I felt called to be a Christian in the secular world. But one day that changed.
“We’d spent five years living in Amsterdam and it was as we were planning to leave that I was asked again about ordination and I came to the realisation that now I did need to take that step and explore the possibility of becoming ordained.”
I was ordained in 2000 in Essex, initially alongside my continuing HR role. My first incumbency was as Vicar of two churches in Brentwood. I loved it and expected to stay there until my retirement. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to take a sabbatical during which I walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain. During these weeks I committed myself to be whatever God called me to be.
“When I returned from my pilgrimage there was a letter from the National Church saying ‘we think you may have the potential to become a Bishop’. And it was some months after that that I received a call from Bishop Tim asking me to come to Cornwall for an interview to serve here as the Bishop of St Germans. This was not something I had ever looked for or expected but God has convinced me that this is where he wants me to be and I must say I am delighted!”