St Paul’s Church Grove Park appoints a new vicar

Image above: Rev Caroline Halmshaw with son Alec and husband Rick

Rev Caroline Halmshaw to take over as vicar

St Paul’s Church, Grove Park, has appointed a new vicar. Rev Caroline Halmshaw, who is currently an associate vicar in Twickenham, was selected by a panel which included the vicar of St Nicholas Church, Chiswick, Father Simon Brandes, who is also the Patron of St Paul’s, and churchwarden Cassandra Barker, to replace Rev Michael Riley, who retired last July.

Cassandra told The Chiswick Calendar: “We are delighted. She was a top-notch candidate and we are very pleased that she accepted. We are looking forward to her arrival.”

Caroline told us she was delighted to be appointed: “From what I hear, Grove Park is a wonderful place with a strong community. I look forward to being able to explore the big questions of life and to have fun together.”

She was ordained in 2018 and has been at St Mary with St Alban in Teddington for five and a half years. Newly ordained priests spend three years as a curate, effectively an apprenticeship, which she did there before becoming an associate vicar.

She has also been part-time Director of Post Ordination Training for the Kensington Area of the London Diocese, looking after newly ordained curates.

Before training for ordained ministry, her earlier career was in nursing and midwifery and after further study she worked in International Development in the charity sector. Her focus was on health programmes, especially maternal health and reproductive rights.

Caroline has lived in Zimbabwe and travelled widely for work. She held senior positions in the charity sector, her last role was at the global children’s charity Plan UK.

Image above: Rev Caroline Halmshaw with son Alec and husband Rick

Looking forward to working with the congregation and wider community

As a strong advocate for women’s rights and with her knowledge of the issues faced by refugees, she is interested in the work the St Paul’s has been doing with refugees.

“St Paul’s has a strong group of generous, gifted, talented people and I am looking forward to getting to know what they’re interested in, what they’ve been doing, and to build new partnerships.”

She is also interested in the Church’s music programme, having come from a musical family herself. St Paul’s recently celebrated its 150th anniversary with a programme of music, entertainment and worship.

Caroline and her husband Rick both grew up in Radlett in Hertfordshire and have lived mainly in London and Brighton. She is following in her mother’s footsteps as a vicar. Her mother Stella was ordained in 1987.

Caroline and her family, husband Rick and 15 year old son Alec, will be joining St Paul’s in the late spring or early summer, says the Church, once their temporary accommodation in the vicarage has been prepared.

The big vicarage where Rev Michael Riley lived, which was used as a film set in a number of film and TV programmes, is being redeveloped and a smaller vicarage being built in the grounds.

“‘I’m delighted to be coming to St Paul’s as the new vicar. It’s been wonderful to learn about the life of St Paul’s over the years, to hear how the church has been the centre of much of the community life in Grove Park.

“As we start a new phase together, I hope we can build on this, always being a place of warm welcome to everyone, where we can come together to make friends, offer sanctuary and listen as we share our faith.

“I am so looking forward to meeting and working with the congregation and wider community.”

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