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New Rector

Dear Willowfield family, 

We, as parochial nominators are delighted to announce that the Revd Canon Clive Atkinson has been appointed incumbent of Willowfield Parish Church.

Clive will take up this position at a date to be set, hopefully in May 2021.  

Clive has written the following letter of introduction.

Dear Willowfield family,It’s a joy for Yvonne and I to introduce ourselves to you and a privilege to write briefly and say “Hello”. 

I’m originally from Northern Ireland but have spent the last 18 years serving in two Anglican churches in Switzerland.  Prior to that I was the Rector of St. John the Baptist Church, Suffolk Estate in West Belfast and before that, curate in Holy Trinity Joanmount and Emmanuel, Ardoyne.  

Yvonne and I have been married for 25 years and are parents to Jacob (22) and Rebekah (19).  Yvonne was born in Oxford but grew up in Coleraine. Currently, Jacob is at university in Lausanne. Rebekah, having finished school, is on a “year out”. 

Though we will be sad to leave our home here, it has become clear over the past months that the Lord is calling us back to Northern Ireland and specifically to the Willowfield Family.  We hope to be with you by the beginning of May.  

I appreciate that as I write, you will be going back into lockdown once again. This must be very challenging for everyone.  This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. It’s the “New Year’s Day” of the Church year.  It struck me this week that the Church Year doesn’t start with Angels singing, or the Temple curtain being torn in two, or with the great stone being rolled away or evening a loud rushing wind and tongues of fire, instead it begins with a cry of desperation, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!”  This cry is found in Isaiah 64, a reading that is associated strongly with Advent Sunday and it’s a cry of desperation from someone whose world is in ruins.  

It’s a cry of desperation but also a cry of faith, for this person knows that even when surrounded by devastation, the manifest presence of God is enough to restore and rebuild.  

Personally speaking, I am grateful for Advent. It gives me an opportunity to cry out in faith, “Come Down” Lord, knowing our Lord will not disappoint. 

For the moment may we leave you with the words found in Ephesians 3:20–21.  I will be praying this over you and would ask you to pray this over Yvonne and I as we prepare to come. “20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

Clive & Yvonne 

Please pray for Clive, Yvonne and the family in the coming months, as they prepare to say goodbye to their church in Switzerland and Clive takes up his new position in Willowfield. 

Glynis Matchett, Jasper Rutherford, John Menagh, George Newell


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