November 2015


A very warm invitation is extended to all to the Licensing service of Reverend Michael Champneys as the new Vicar (Priest in Charge) of Wentworth, by Bishop Peter, the Bishop of Doncaster. This will be a very special service and will take place on Tuesday 10th November at 7-30 and will be followed by light refreshments.

We do hope that you will be able to attend and support Michael at the start of his new ministry at Wentworth.

Church Wardens
Jim and Stephen

Dear Friends

Although I was born in Liverpool, I grew up in West Sussex a few minutes walk from the sea, and near to open country, where so much of my boyhood was spent on the beach, swimming and exploring the countryside by bicycle and on foot. My other great interest was music. In my teens I was the despair of my teachers, playing the trombone in two orchestras, being organist of the village church and indulging in informal music-making with friends to the detriment of my studies. However I did continue my studies at the Royal Academy of Music for three years and after graduating I taught for two years. While at the Royal Academy I was organist of St John’s, Notting Hill.

I then trained for the ministry at Lincoln Theological College and for a while was in charge of the chapel music. A former bishop of Sheffield was among those who had to endure my weekly music practices. I was Ordained in 1972.

My time in the East End of London began in parish of Poplar - of “Call the Midwife” fame. The Nursing Sisters of St John the Divine were still working there, training young nurses in midwifery. When I left the East End the nuns moved into the vicarage I vacated.

After three years at Tewkesbury Abbey, with its fine musical tradition, I returned to London to be vicar of a parish in Chiswick, where I’m still remembered for keeping goats in the vicarage garden. In more recent gardens I have enjoyed establishing frog populations - but have no plans to do so in Wentworth. With the exception of a spell as vicar of Shap, on the edge of the Lake District, the remainder of my ministry has been in the East Midlands. retired from full-time ministry in 2010.

My recreational interests have remained centred on the great outdoors and music - with railways and real ale following close behind. Among the long distance footpaths I have walked over the years are the South Downs Way, The Ridgeway (Tring - Avebury), Avebury - Swanage, The Wolds Way and the Mid-Shires Way (New Mills - Northampton). Shap provided superb opportunities for fell-walking (as well as train watching) and twenty years living in close proximity to the Peak District has been exploited to the full - greatly assisted over the last nine years by my senior citizens free bus pass!

Remote place have always been a source of great pleasure; several holidays to the Outer Hebrides, a weekend on St Kilda and a three week trek in Himalayas being particularly memorable.

As far as music is concerned I’ve never been a solo performer - it’s nearly half a century since I left the Academy and I’m sadly out of practice - but I’ve often been pressed into service as an accompanist and have enjoyed playing piano duets. For the past seven years I’ve been a member of the Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir.

I first met my wife Chris in 1987. She was one of seven head teachers under whom I worked as a community education tutor in Bolsover. When I left the area we lost touch, but we met again several years later when I moved to a parish near Chesterfield. We were married in St Mary’s Sutton Scarsdale in 2006 and spent our honeymoon on the Isle of Barra. We began with eight grown up children and ten grandchildren between us. At the last count the number of ( great-) grandchildren has increased by six!

Since my retirement five years ago we have lived in Holymoorside - just off the Chesterfield -Baslow road. We enjoy exploring England together, have returned several times to the Hebrides, taken a great European train journey and a round Britain cruise. We attempt to keep our minds working by doing a cryptic crossword every day.