The new vicar at a church in Dukinfield says it took him and his wife just ten minutes to decide that the town was the place for them.
Rev Karl Williams had his institution at St. Mark’s Church on Friday, June 21 and led his first service the following Sunday. He took a look round the church before taking up the post, but made his decision almost instantly.
“My wife and I came to a service at St Mark’s,” Karl said. “We were in the church for about ten minutes and eight people had come up to us and chatted. They weren’t in-your-face; they were warm, friendly and down-to-Earth. We looked at each other and said, “We’d love to be with these people.””
Karl and his wife have moved to Dukinfield from the Wirral, where he held his first two posts in ministry following a career in personnel and training. Karl was only ordained three years ago, after what he describes as a ‘gradual, gnawing calling’ to the Church.
He said: “I had a fantastic secular career. I worked hard, did alright for myself and loved what I did. I just felt th8 ere was something missing. When I actually gave into it, I felt an enormous sense of peace. I knew I’d made the right choice.
“What’s so rewarding about it is that you’re with people at the best of times and the worst of times. I had a great career and its nice now to give something back.”
St. Mark’s describes itself as an inclusive, Anglican church and now he’s arrived in Dukinfield, Karl’s mission is to grow its congregation. He wants to place the church at the heart of the community, but he knows the church needs a modern outlook to do so.
“We live in a world that has changed,” Karl said. “Long-gone are the days of a 39-hour week. Young professionals are away from home three nights a week and are working 50-60 hours a week. I think the way forward for the church is to be in the middle of the community.
“For people to identify with the church, we have to recognise that things have changed in the world and we need to meet the people where they are. It’s not the case of opening the doors on a Sunday in arrogance, and expecting it to fill. It’s a case of getting out there and seeing what the people need.
“We don’t take a register,” he continued. “We understand people can’t make it every week. People are called not just to be Christians; they’re called to be parents, husbands, wives, aunties, uncles etc. You’ve got to do all those things. You can’t just ignore your responsibilities in life.”
The main Sunday services at St. Mark’s on Church Street start at 10.30am. There is also morning prayer held at 9.30am every Saturday and a weekly Tuesday group, also at 9.30am. For more information, visit www.stmarksdukinfield.org.uk.