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Loddon vicar to move on

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 July 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 01 August 2010

THE vicar over-seeing the six parishes of the Chet Valley Benefice will move onto pastures new next week following a final sermon on Sunday.

The Rev Nigel Evans, who came to the parish at Christmas in 2004, will be taking up a new role as team rector in the parish of Bucknall in Stoke-on-Trent.

THE vicar over-seeing the six parishes of the Chet Valley Benefice will move onto pastures new next week following a final sermon on Sunday.

The Rev Nigel Evans, who came to the parish at Christmas in 2004, will be taking up a new role as team rector in the parish of Bucknall in Stoke-on-Trent.

Moving from a benefice of 4,500 people to a parish of 28,000, the appointment will be a new and exciting challenge for the father of three.

“It's a little different to the Chet Valley!” he said. “It's a significant step up. I felt that I had achieved all that I could. It's time for a fresh pair of eyes to come and build on what I had done.”

Mr Evans, who was vicar at churches in Loddon, Chedgrave, Hardley, Langley, Sisland, and Hales and Heckingham, came to the Loddon area from the parishes of Osset and Gawthorpe in the Wakefield diocese.

Since moving to Loddon he has implemented a number of changes, including the monthly “cafe church” at All Saints Church in Chedgrave which managed to pull in triple the number of parishioners than the normal sermons.

He has also managed to persuade more people to take on positions of responsibility within the church, and move into official positions within the ministry.

“I'm not of the old vicar school where the vicar has to do everything,” he explained. “The vicar can't do everything in a modern church. I identify the gifts of the members around me and help them to use these.”

Mr Evans was strongly involved in the local community, working very closely with the parish council and acting as a governor and chair of governors at Loddon Infant School.

He took assemblies at the infant school and Loddon Junior School and has been chaplain at Langley School for five-and-a-half years.

He said that he would miss working in the Chet Valley Benefice.

“I will miss the friendships and the beautiful countryside,” he said. “In a village everybody knows the vicar and that gives huge opportunities. There won't be that connection in Stoke.

“It's been a privilege to share in people's joys and sorrows in the last five-and-a-half years and to see growth in all the churches. It's a beautiful place and I've been impressed with the huge sense of community and desire to work together, the commitment to make Loddon the best place it can be. It's phenomenal.”

Mr Evans leaves with his wife Penny and three children.

His last sermon on Sunday will be at Holy Trinity Church in Loddon at 10.45am.

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