The new minister at St Mary’s Church, Rev Clive Deverell, comes from a working class background and started his career in a life assurance company in Bournemouth. He believes his very ‘ordinariness’ will be a great strength in his new role.
Joined by his wife Wendy and two children, aged 10 and 7 years, Rev Deverell, 49, said, “I like speedway and sports and I have been through the mill myself. God walked beside me and the church offered me hope – that’s what the Christian church offers to others who feel low. God equips and gifts even those who feel they have let Him down in the past.”
He comes to Swindon from Peterborough after spending many years as a Church Army Officer, getting involved in evangelism, homelessness and parish work. He was ordained in 2007 and was keen to join the ecumenical partnership in West Swindon and the Lydiards. “There is diversity and unity without the uniformity. I’m excited about the opportunities at St Mary’s, to work with Lydiard House and the wider community, as well as encouraging people to come to faith and then share their faith.
“My desire is to bring people together in unity, it’s not about growing the congregation as such, but about creating an environment where people can grow in their faith wherever they are on their journey, and building on the good work that’s already been done by the people here.
“One of the main challenges will be St Mary’s building fund. There’s been a church there since 1100 and we want to ensure we continue to get further funding to help maintain this beautiful church.”
After just a few weeks in Swindon the Rev Deverell is already in the thick of it, talking with school heads, and planning Christmas events. He added, “we’ve found Swindon to be a very welcoming and warm place.”
As well as the congregation the Rev Deverell wants to be a listening ear to the wider parish, especially in these difficult times.