THE NEW team rector of Saddleworth says she was attracted to apply for the post because of area’s sense of community.
Rev Canon Sharon Jones will take over the seven parishes and nine churches in July after being vicar of St Andrew Dearnley in Rochdale for ten years and then Area Dean.
The mother of two, who for the past two years has served as vicar of Wardle and Smallbridge, declared: “Saddleworth attracted me for its sense of community and the potential for the churches to be a living, vibrant and prayerful presence.
“Supporting the elderly and lonely and encouraging and growing the Christian faith among our children and young people is a priority.
“The different villages clearly have their own identities and history with which I am not yet familiar.
“Listening and journeying with others as they explore faith and what that might mean for their lives is a natural part of my life,” she declared.
“As a Trustee of Rochdale Foodbank and having a strong personal link with the people of Namibia, I am very conscious of the needs of the poor.
“I would want us to keep in our minds the bigger, global issues and reach out to those in need; supporting the poor and the mentally ill, the stranger and the vulnerable.”
Rev Canon Jones, who was born in Birmingham, was first licensed in 1985 and spent seven years in parishes in Birmingham before moving to Northumberland.
She was one of the first women to be ordained in 1994 and served as a prison chaplain for 13 years including HMP Forest Bank in Manchester.
She added: “I am looking forward to coming to Saddleworth, meeting new people and being a visible part of the communities I will serve. I look forward also to working with colleagues in leading the team of diverse churches.
“I firmly believe in the inclusive and unconditional love of God for everyone and the power of Christ to transform lives.”
Her licensing will be held on Sunday, July 24 at 3pm at Holy Trinity Church, Dobcross. All are welcome.