Rushden vicar prepares for new challenge

The 'Rev Philip Evans

The 'Rev Philip Evans

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A vicar is preparing for a new challenge as he leaves his parish for pastures new after more than 11 years.

The Rev Philip Evans will give his final sermon at Whitefriars Church in Rushden on November 30 before becoming lead chaplain for St Andrew’s Healthcare, based in Northampton but also working in Nottinghamshire.

He will start the job with the charity which provides mental health care in January.

Mr Evans, who said he’d seen a lot of positive things happen in his 11 years at the church, said: “St Andrew’s is a very different environment.

“It’s a secure unit where people are patients, not because they have chosen to but because they are detained there.

“My wife has worked there for eight years, and I don’t think I would have gone for it if I didn’t know anything about it.”

He added: “The Christian faith isn’t just for the church, it’s for the outside world and I think it’s a lovely ministry to work with colleagues who aren’t clergy.”

He, wife Denise and children Susannah and Nick are planning to move, although they are hoping to stay in the county.

Mrs Evans will step down as leader of the church’s Sunday group for children from Years 3 to 6, while her husband will stop being a governor at two schools in the parish.

He said: “I will stop being governor at both Rushden Community College and Whitefriars Junior School at Christmas, and I will miss the roles.

“I have seen a generation of children go through those schools.

“For some children it’s the only contact they have with the church. I do assembly at Whitefriars once a week and it’s one of the highlights of my week.”

Mr Evans said he loved seeing the wonder on children’s faces as he spoke to them about the love of God, and their openess too.

But while he will miss working with the schools, he said it is time for a change.

And added: “I am excited about it, but also slightly daunted too.”