Go back to normal view


Monthly Letter

Silverdale, Guiseley


Dear friends

When I was at theological college, a Baptist friend of mine used to pass his time by re-writing words to well known hymns: one of his classics was

‘Like a mighty tortoise moves the Church of God,

Brothers we are treading where we’ve always trod!’

We are often wont to criticise the speed with which the Church makes anything happen, but I think you will agree with me that the diocese has moved at break neck speed to arrange my license and welcome service, as the new associate priest here at St John’s Church, Menston.

So fast indeed that you can be forgiven for asking; ‘well who is he?’ ‘what is an associate priest?’ and ‘where has he come from?’

Who is he? My name is Andrew, I don’t really respond to ‘Andy’ very well! But friends do get to call me Drew if they want to shorten my name! Born in Bradford, I am employed three days a week as the Co-ordinating Chaplain, at the University of Bradford, and up until the summer of last year, I had worked for the NHS for 24 years in Mental Health and Learning Disability. My partner is called David, who worships regularly at St Oswald’s, in Guiseley, although he will also try to get involved here as well, all being well.

What is an SSM (self-supporting ministry) Associate Priest? Usually somebody who is engaged in other employment, (such as a chaplain in a University), or retired, and therefore works part time (without stipend) to assist the incumbent. They are fully qualified and ordained as a Priest in the Church of England, and can take part in all the activities of the Parish, but the stipendiary incumbent (Steve) is always the ‘boss!’

Where is he from? The answer to this question is longer, sorry! Once upon a time I was ordained as a Methodist Minister and at one time had pastoral responsibility for Guiseley and Hawksworth Methodist Churches, so preached fairly frequently at Menston Methodist Church. When I was called to work for High Royds Hospital full time, I bought a house in Guiseley, where I still live, with David. I offered for the Anglican Priesthood in 2013, was deaconed in 2015, priested in 2016, and worked as curate at St Peters Church Addingham. During the vacancy at St John’s, I celebrated a Eucharist service, baptised a baby, and conducted a wedding! I have also worshipped quietly at St John’s a couple of times - the last time I came I was asked whether I was Steve’s dad!!! So you may have seen me around.

I am thrilled to be able to assist here at St John’s and I am really looking forward to getting to know everybody. It does take me a little while to learn peoples names! So please be patient with me, and forgive me if I keep asking what your name is. Thank you to those of you who have already made me feel so welcome, and I can’t wait to meet everyone else.

With love and prayers,


evd Andrew Howorth