On June 19th Steve will be ordained at Gloucester Cathedral to be our curate and will serve his curacy with the Stroud Team over the next four years.
A fruitful journey it has been for Steve to reach this point with key moments that has shaped his faith and his journey that sees him being ordained in 2 weeks’ time.
One strand is working with the homeless. Steve volunteered with Marah, the Homeless Charity here in Stroud for several years but the involvement with homelessness started much earlier. After graduating from Manchester University, he remained in the city and worked as a volunteer trying to house young people. He then went to London, working with the homeless firstly for the Simon Community in Kings Cross and then as an Assistant Manager for St Mungos, managing a Night Shelter in Covent Garden. Both Kings Cross and Covent Garden, in those days were not anything like what they are today. Kings Cross was known as an area for prostitutes and as a Manager for a Night Shelter, having the door broken down due to a police raid was not uncommon. Whilst in London he worshipped at The Clubhouse that was a gym near to the BT Tower but it was an offshoot of All Souls Langham Place. He then decided to travel around North and South America and eventually working in an orphanage in Bolivia that was run by SAMS (South American Missionary Society). On returning from Bolivia, because of their link Juliette and Steve were allowed to get married at All Souls!
The importance of community is another strand that has shaped Steve’s faith. He has and still spends time at the Taizé community in France. He first went on his own as a 16 year old and then later with Juliette and the family. The Taizé Community’s way of life- its ecumenical approach that seeks to involve people from different traditions with a focus on youth is an important influence in Steve’s life. Today, together with Juliette, they run Taizé Prayers at St Laurence on a Saturday evening which, before the lock down, was attracting up to 80 people
After returning from Bolivia, he chose to become a teacher and for a while taught at the Holland Park Comprehensive School that was famous where children of MPs or Ambassadors mixed with refugees and children from the local housing estate. Indeed, he remembers teaching a class about Islam that had a refugee from Iraq sitting alongside the children of the Iranian Ambassador- perhaps not at the time appreciating the deep divide between Shia and Sunni sects of the Muslim faith!
Steve and Juliette and their young family moved to Stroud in 2000 when he started teaching at Archway School- teaching religious studies and sociology. A further strand that has shaped his Faith was his experience of worship. Having grown up within, and then grown away from, charismatic forms of worship Steve struggled to find a church he and the family were comfortable in. For a time they started going to the Church of the Immaculate Conception- the catholic church in Beeches Green in Stroud where the welcome and the community for young families he has never forgotten. Eventually the family found a caring and supportive home at St. Albans Methodist church for several years. But now Steve can see the beauty and purpose in diverse expressions of worship from the very traditional to those that engage and explore faith on the fringes. A few years ago Steve and Juliette, along with Milly and Clay Sinclair, set up Still Point that explores faith through Arts and Music. All these experiences have shaped Steve’s life and outlook and is always wanting to look outwards to those on the fringes or those on the outside who may be looking to become engaged or just looking for a place of refuge and wanting to learn and ask questions
Steve will continue to work 3 days a week at The Archway School combining that with being a Curate with us.