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The Reverend Canon Dr. Alison Joyce has been appointed as Rector of St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, spiritual home of journalists and to the media at large. Canon Joyce, currently Vicar of Edgbaston Old Church, Birmingham, will take office in November.
"Alison brings intellect, energy, a strong commitment to pastoral care and a profound spirituality to St Bride's and will continue the long tradition of outstanding Rectors. She is an experienced and gifted pastor who has shown the capacity to lead spiritual and communal renewal", said The Very Revd John Hall, Dean of Westminster and Patron of St Bride's.
The Venerable David Meara, who retires from St Bride's in August after fourteen years, expressed his support for his successor: "I am delighted that the Patron has selected someone with such strong credentials to pick up the baton from me and who, I am sure, has the abilities needed to set St Bride's on course for a future of growth and vitality."
Canon Joyce, who is married to a Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and has two adult daughters, was responsible for transforming the fortunes of Edgbaston Old Church upon being appointed there in 2005, and now relishes a fresh challenge. "It is a delight and a privilege to have been appointed to the post of Rector of St Bride's, Fleet Street, rightly famous for its remarkable history, its outstanding musical tradition, and its unique ministry to the media world. I am greatly looking forward to this new challenge, and to the opportunity to work with such a wonderful team."
"The Churchwardens are delighted to endorse the Patron's recommendation of Alison for this important role at a time of great change and challenge for the media and our other important constituencies within the congregation," explained Peter Silver, Senior Churchwarden of St Bride's. "We believe she understands the challenges St Bride's will face and can guide the congregation to a deeper understanding of what Christian faith means in the 21st century."
It is fitting on our "Talents" morning to recognise the talents we have had in David Meara as our Rector over the last 14 years and I hope you will all be here in three weeks time (on July 27th) when we make our 'official' goodbyes to him at the 11am morning service.
As most of you know, while the search for his successor could not begin until after he notified us of his impending retirement at Easter, earlier this year, your Churchwardens undertook a survey of the congregation and we were grateful for the guidance it gave us - being very aware of the responsibility of the task ahead.
To choose a successor, your PCC appointed Jerry Wright and I as Parish Representatives. We joined with the Bishop of London's representative, Archdeacon Bill Jacob; our patron, the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, and his co-opted member of the selection panel, Churchwarden Helen Fraser. We met at the end of May and shortlisted the respondents to our advertising before interviewing five prospective applicants at the beginning of June.
All five took up our offer of a pre-interview tour of the Church and Rectory and all responded well at the Interview Board to our in-depth questioning. However, at the end of the day, the panel was unanimous in the choice of preferred candidate.
Frustratingly, we had to maintain confidentiality on our choice until all the necessary checks had been made - and references sought - before the news could be made public; and then it had to be on a Sunday, simultaneously in both of the parishes concerned.
We had anticipated that the appointment would be announced later this month, but we were informed by the Dean's office on Friday that this Sunday was the one! I am grateful to the office here in St Bride's and to our Verger for their invaluable work in communicating the news to those not here this morning. I am very pleased to announce that The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Joyce, currently Vicar of Edgbaston Old Church, Birmingham, has been appointed as our Rector and will take office in October at a date to be arranged with the Bishop of London.
Canon Joyce is married to a Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and has two adult daughters. I talked with her last night and she confirmed that she is delighted to have been appointed and is very much looking forward to picking up the baton from David.
In the interregnum period between David leaving and Alison taking office we have secured someone who is a bit of an 'interregnum specialist'! The Rev Bill Wilson, who lives in Brighton, will be taking the majority of our Sunday Services. He will also be on site in St Bride's from 11am every Wednesday, plus one other day - usually Thursday, or sometimes on Friday if a Wedding rehearsal is required. Our Vergers have kindly agreed to cover the 8.30am Morning Prayer Services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.