Rector – Revd Philip Hawthorn
Before ministry I had a very varied working life – beginning with a degree in Computer Science and ending with being a writer/producer at CBeebies, the BBC’s pre-school channel. In between, I have been an actor, in radio and television as presenter, director and writer, the corporate face of Vauxhall, songwriter and mime. But I am now in the right place, I love being a priest. It was a growing sense of vocation that just seemed to get more substantial at each stage. When I presided at my first Eucharist I have never felt so in the right place.
We moved out of London in 2002 to a village near Wells, and not long after I went forward for selection to the ministry. I trained at Cuddesdon, near Oxford, for two years, then three years ago began my curacy in Hardington Vale, a single parish of six villages on the way from Bath to Frome. I had a great time there, training with an inspirational and creative priest, Nigel Done.
I had just started to think about possibly looking for a job when I saw the advert for St Stephen s. It seemed too good to be true, especially the “inexhaustible sense of humour” requirement. Again, each stage of the process gave us a deepening sense of rightness. It was hard leaving Rode where we’d put down roots, but there was so much to look forward to in Bath.
I have always been drawn to working with children and young families, as well as the more established church membership and I am thoroughly enjoying being the living bridge between our church and our school, and all the possibilities that offers.
When Lizzie and I came for the informal day as part of the interview process for my role here at St Stephen’s, we were looking for signs of community. For me church is about what happens between people, and community is essential. That’s how the body of Christ is made visible in the world. We got a sense of both vibrant and caring city and rural communities, and this was a major draw.
I have a love of vegetable gardening, and have extended from the Rectory garden to a plot at St Stephen s allotment. Our Rectory pigs and chickens are now somewhat legendary. I am very fond of cycling, tennis and badminton; I play a bit of golf. I support Watford Football Club. Lizzie and I love food and cooking, walking and the arts. It would take another page to describe everything the rest are into, so I’ll leave you to find out as you get to know us.
I hope this gives you an idea of who I am. Jesus said that he came to bring life, and life to the full. I am passionate about being open to the possibilities of this fullness offered in Christ, whose Spirit is a living presence to tranform us — individually and as a church family — into the best we can be. That’s our journey and our joy.
Grace and Peace,
Other members of our ministry team
- The Reverend Alastair Davies is part of our ministry team which he combines with his role as Senior Chaplain at the Royal United Hospital NHS Trust, Bath. Alastair previously served for 18 years with the Royal Air Force Chaplaincy Service.
- Richard Brooke is a Licensed Reader.
- Also linked with our church through the North Bath Local Ministry Group are the Reverend Lore Chumbley, Priest-in-charge of Christ Church, Julian Road and the Reverend Professor Cliff Burrows OBE who assists Lore in her role at Christ Church.
Our churchwardens Mike King and Sue Russell , are members of our congregation and they play an invaluable role in the management, maintenance and ministry of the church. They are assisted by a team of deputy churchwardens: Christian Duckworth; Peter Baxter; Rick Meopham; Steve Russell; Karl Stringer.
Parochial Church Councils
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Stephen’s Church comprise the clergy and churchwardens of the parish, together with a number of elected representatives of the laity.
Our School Governors are elected by the PCC (see above) and govern our church school, St Stephen’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School in its work.
- Mrs Kate Seeley is the Chair of Governors.
- Our headteacher is Mr Andy Bowman.
Hello from Philip!
It is a privilege to be Parish Priest of St Stephen’s and St Mary’s. I’m now in my fourth year, and really enjoying being here along with Lizzie, and our children Peter (Bath College), Annie (St Greg’s) and Ted (St Greg’s). We have Ellie and Billy, too, who have now left home. We also have a lovely black lab, India, four chickens and, during the Spring and Summer, two pigs in the garden.
We have been focussing on what it is to gather on Sunday to worship God. Opening ourselves to learning about being community, and being open to all God will do in and through us. We are now looking too at being ‘sent’, taking the love of God out of those big white doors and into Bath and the world. ‘God has no other hands but our hands to do the work of God, no other heart but our heart to beat for justice, peace and compassion in our world’.