Dunmow parishioners welcome their new vicar

09:57 03 July 2014

Reverend Ruth Patten is the new vicar at St Mary

Reverend Ruth Patten is the new vicar at St Mary's Church

Archant

Parishioners flocked to St Mary’s in Great Dunmow on Sunday to welcome their new vicar.

The Rev Ruth Patten held her first service at the church since being appointed.

She has replaced David Ainge after he left last summer.

The 42-year-old, who was a curate in Witham for the past four years, said she felt “straight at home” in her new parish and is looking forward to getting to know the community.

She told the Broadcast: “I am really excited to be here and everyone has been really welcoming.

“I do not know the town very well yet, but I am looking forward to finding my way around – and trying out the tearooms!

“I am quite nervous as this is the first church where I am in charge, and I will ultimately have to make all the decisions, but it is exciting at the same time.

“In my role as the vicar, I hope to be able to be here for everybody.”

Miss Patten, who is also priest in charge at St Andrew’s in Barnston, comes to Dunmow 20 years after the first female vicar was ordained in the Church of England.

She first considered taking the cloth when she was in her early 20s, but it was only in recent years she decided to pursue becoming a priest.

She said: “Someone mentioned it to me when I was at university and that was only when it was just possible for women to think about training.

“At the time I thought I was a bit young but the idea was always on the back burner.

“Ten years later I started really thinking about it and I thought life is not a rehearsal, if this is something I need to do, I should.”

To celebrate the Diocesan Centenary, there will be a performance of Pam Warren’s cantata The King of Kings by choirs of St Mary’s Church and Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School.

Free tickets are available from the church office by calling 01371 875753 or Vera Davies on 01371 872053.

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