The Bishop of Sherborne has arranged for the Swanage and Studland Team Ministry to have an interim minister during the team minister vacancy. He is the Venerable Martin Webster, a former archdeacon in Chelmsford Diocese living in retirement in Salisbury. Primarily, Martin will be ministering in All Saints', but all of the churches are likely to see him at some point over the next few months, and we look forward to him coming amongst us from the beginning of October.
You will read below that Martin grew up in Hornchurch in Essex and worshipped at St Andrew's. That was the church of much of my childhood too, which is quite a coincidence!
John has asked me to write a brief biography of myself to begin an introduction process to you all.
I was born in Hornchurch, Essex to a family that had moved down from the North to start a new life. One of my earliest recollections is lying under trees looking up at the sun and sky and thinking isn’t this wonderful, ( and maybe this is me reading back in from later) isn’t God wonderful. God was a daily presence in my life which was enhanced and deepened when Jesus exploded across my horizons in my mid teens.
I was baptised as a baby at St Andrew’s Hornchurch (an Evangelical church but quite broad in outlook) , later confirmed there at aged 17 and later still married there to Vicky who I had met through the Church youth club. One of my early passions was mathematics so I ended up taking a Physics degree at Nottingham University. Whilst there I began to explore ordination as my particular calling.
Ordained in 1978 I served a curacy at a place called Thundersley, then became a Team Vicar on Canvey Island setting up a brand new church ( St Katherine’s) in what we would now describe as a pioneer ministry. I also worked as a Deanery Youth Chaplain at this time.
This was followed with a move to the other side of Essex to become Vicar of Nazeing, a sort of rural suburban Village of 5000 people. By this time the last of our three sons had been born, life was demanding but also great fun. Whilst there at the tender age of 33, much to my surprise, I became Area Dean of Harlow as well.
Some 13 years later I applied for and was appointed as Team Rector of Waltham Abbey. A Team ministry based on the market Town of Waltham Abbey, with four very different churches.
Ten years later I was appointed as Archdeacon of Harlow Archdeaconry. Where I finished to retire to the outskirts of Salisbury in 2017. All of my ministry has been in the one diocese ( Chelmsford) so I am very much an Essex and East London boy!
Now I have time for painting, fishing, walking and gardening plus helping out in my local church.
I look forward to being amongst you offering my experience and passion for Christ as you prepare for the next stage of ministry at All Saints and the wider team.