| Fr Simon introduces
himself to us...
I’m delighted to introduce myself as Priest-in-Charge-designate to St. Faith’s Crosby with St. Mary the Virgin, Waterloo Park (that’s a bit of a mouthful!).
I grew up in Sussex and Bedford. After a first degree in English Literature at Edinburgh University, and spells abroad teaching English in Istanbul and Tokyo, I proceeded to further studies at Newcastle University, completing in 2003 a PhD on perceptions of the Ottoman Empire in early modern writing in English. Through the Newcastle years, I had a growing sense of vocation to the priesthood. At the end of my time there, I returned to Bedford, where I spent a wonderful eighteen months as a church-based community worker at All Saints church. This was a rich period, working in a multi-faith, largely Muslim parish, served by a vibrant, multi-ethnic congregation. All Saints remains an important base for me, as my father is a retired priest on the staff there, and my mother is church-warden. The All Saints website is well worth a look, and not just because I came up with the design, and wrote a fair bit of the copy myself!
While in Bedford, I went through the selection process for ordination, and in 2005 I proceeded to Westcott House in Cambridge. While there, I co-ran the Chapel music for a year, read for a Cambridge degree, in which I largely focused on Old Testament and Hebrew, and was also involved in kick-starting the relationship between Westcott and neighbouring All Saints, Jesus Lane, a beautiful Victorian church, long-redundant. I have a passion for Victorian churches, and am looking forward to having the care of two lovely examples in Crosby/Waterloo.
From Westcott, I moved (via a stint teaching in seminary in the Solomon Islands) to Edinburgh, serving as Curate at the well-known Anglo-Catholic church of Old Saint Paul’s. I particularly enjoyed the liturgical life, various community contacts, and opportunities to spend time with young adults by setting up a new group for the under 40s, XYMonday. During my curacy, I also undertook my ‘walking to Walsingham’ project, a 400-mile pilgrimage on foot, commemorated in a video diary which I made en route, and partially available online.
At the end of my curacy in 2011, the opportunity came up to go to South Africa, to take up a fixed-term, 12-month post teaching Biblical Studies at the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown. South Africa is in my DNA, my father and grand-father both having served there as priests (my four elder sisters were also born there). That was a wonderful experience, and the opportunity to journey with ordination candidates in South Africa for a time was a great privilege.
On returning to the UK in July 2012, wondering what to do next, I got taken on as an assistant priest, on a temporary basis, by St. Andrew’s Bedford. Having established that a return to my former job in South Africa was not an immediate possibility, I began to look around in the UK. Very soon, St. Faith’s and St. Mary’s came up. The rest, as they say, is history.
After such a varied programme over the past few years, involving a lot of moving about, I am looking forward to settling in one place and starting to put down roots. Alongside ministry, I hope to resume former interests, or pick up new ones. I shall be getting dogs, and look forward to taking advantage of the great cultural scene in Liverpool, particularly the Phil concerts and opera. Time permitting, I’d also love to do some organ-playing, hill-walking, and church-crawling.
My licensing takes place at St. Mary’s on Wednesday January 9th at 7.30pm. Richard Blackburn, the Bishop of Warrington will preach, and it promises to be a joyful and uplifting occasion. Whoever you are, and whatever your interest in the parish, do come along on that occasion to wish us well if you can.
Fr Simon Tibbs
Fr Simon suggested that some may be interested to explore further the places and events listed below. Your website manager particularly recommends the videos of the epic pilgrimage to Walsingham. Our parishes have of course regularly been on pilgrimages to the Shrine - but not yet on foot!
All Saints Church, Bedford
Westcott House, Cambridge
Old Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh
Walking to Walsingham
College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown, South Africa
St. Andrew’s Church, Bedford