It’s the chance connections made in the streets and the intimacy of a core congregation that the vicar of Royston and Felkirk, the Revd Dr Matthew Bullimore will miss when he leaves his parishes to take up his new role as Vice Principal of the Cambridge Theological College, Westcott House later this summer.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Matt who prepared for ordination at Wescott House, after a MPhil at Manchester following his first degree in theology at Cambridge during which time he received a scholarship from Emmanuel College to spend a year at Harvard Divinity School.
He served his title in the parishes of All Saints, Roberttown and St Peter, Hartshead in the historic diocese of Wakefield before becoming chaplain to the Bishop of Wakefield.
During his time as chaplain he began teaching Christian doctrine for St Hild College (previously the Yorkshire Ministry Course). He was also Bishop’s adviser on theology and society and later, whilst an incumbent, he was the lead co-ordinator of the Wakefield Diocesan Fellowship of Vocation.
Matt, who was brought up in Dewsbury, has served the parish of St John the Baptist, Royston since 2011 and also the parish of St Peter, Felkirk since 2013. He is married to Clare, a pianist and they have three young children and an excitable Springer Spaniel.
“I’ll miss that simple engagement you get in the parish – just bumping into someone in the street or at the shop with whom you’ve made a connection – and building up those relationships.
“There are days when you get lots of admin sorted and although the inbox goes down, it doesn’t actually feel very priestly. The best days are when you think you’ve got nothing ‘done’ at all, but you’ve actually touched someone and been out and about being what you were called to be.
“And the relationships you can make within your church family and beyond are key,” he said.
During his time in the parishes, Matt has baptised 725 children – a much loved part of his ministry and as a member of the Littlemore Group, his chapter in their recent collection For God’s Sake: Re-Imagining Priesthood and Prayer in a Changing Church reflects honestly and theologically on how to deal with the huge demands for baptism in the parishes.
The Reverend Canon Chris Chivers, Principal of Westcott House, said: "Matt brings huge gifts to this post and wide-ranging experience as an incumbent, theological educator and bishop's chaplain.
“His combination of intellectual and pastoral abilities, kindness and humour, together with his sense of the parish as the key context for mission will model for future clergy exactly what is needed.
“I very much look forward to working with him at Westcott for the flourishing of the whole church."
Matt’s last service in the parishes is on Sunday 23 July. He will take up his new role in early September after some annual leave.