The Reverend Nicholas Roberts
Holy Trinity is so very fortunate to have (for a short time) the Rev. Nicholas Roberts, as an interim minister for Holy Trinity, offering us all pastoral care and managing the handover to Rev. Joshua Rey, whose collation date was postponed until September 29th. Rev. Nicholas introduces himself in the blog below:
I was born and grew up in Birmingham and then at 19 went to study at King’s College, London, where I got a degree in Theology in 1970.
After a further year of training at St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury, I served my first curacy in Tividale, a large industrial parish about half way between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Ordination (deacon 1971, priest 1972) was at Lichfield cathedral.
Then I moved back to London, and had a year doing a master’s degree at KCL, while helping at a church very close to King’s Cross and St. Pancras stations.
In 1976 I went across the River Thames to Camberwell, to the magnificent church of St. Giles. After a few months the vicar, Canon Douglas Rhymes, left to go to Woldingham, a rural parish in the ‘stock broker belt’ of Surrey. So I was curate in charge for several months before he arrival of the new incumbent. Fortunately there were several clergy who lived locally, so I had some help with services, which was very good because we had a daily Eucharist as well as Sunday services. Then our new vicar arrived and we worked together for some time.
Then, out of the blue, I had a letter from the Bishop of Southwark, Dr. Mervyn Stockwood, who had recommended me to the Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, who was looking for a new college chaplain.
So I went there and had four years which was the usual length of time for a non academic post. The Master under whom I served was the eminent historian J H (later Sir John) Plumb.
After that I was appointed by Dr. Hugh Montefiore, who by this time was Bishop of Birmingham, as vicar of Kingstanding, a parish in the north of the city. There were four parishes, which worked together as a group ministry. My local Roman Catholic neighbour, Fr Clancy, was a wonderful support, and had a large fund of entertaining yarns, as well as a well stocked drinks cupboard, although he was an abstainer.
It was a tough parish, and I did my best to give the congregation some spiritual nourishment, but after three years the Bishop said that I needed a move, and in 1985, I moved into the NHS and became chaplain of four smallish hospitals in west London, including a hospice. With my senior colleague we had between us eight hospitals, general and psychiatric medicine, and three functioning A & E departments! When one of us was away on holiday the other would be on call twenty four hours a day, sometimes for a fortnight. But I did have my own to escape to when not on duty, and that was a blessing having previously lived in a very busy vicarage.
While working as a hospital chaplain I did the Roehampton MSc degree in Psychological Counselling at Digby Stuart College.
In 2003 by which time I had become the senior chaplain in a much modified system, I decided that it was time for a move and I came from Kilburn to St. Margaret’s Richmond, and had a year off.
During that year I started going to St. Michael’s Convent on Ham Common, the house which was the mother house of the Community of the Sisters of the Church, a world wide organisation.
But in 2010 I decided to retire, and managed to find a house in Ham, where I now live. It is good place to be in retirement and has so many enjoyable things going for it when when are able to get out and about again more easily. The Park is always great to visit whatever time of year.
So now our archdeacon has invited me to come and spend some time with you in Roehampton, helping you to prepare for the next vicar after a very long interregnum. It was a pleasure to be asked to do this, and I have already begun to enjoy meeting people from the church and finding out more about the parish. I love to walk round any parish I work in, chatting to people and generally ‘loitering with intent’. I am now looking forward to two things – the reopening of Roehampton pubs, and my local gym, so that I can lose some weight.
Major Publication: Addiction and Pastoral Care, Canterbury Press, 2018.
Nicholas Roberts, June 2020.