Ministry in the commuter belt
Stuart Silk and Hugh Bourne, who trained at Oak Hill College, are part of the ministry team at All Saints, in the village of Lindfield, Sussex. Stuart is Associate Vicar, while Hugh is the church's curate. Says Stuart: 'Lindfield is a Sussex village which is partly a traditional, older community, but it also attracts younger families, because we are only 45 minutes by train to London and half an hour from Brighton. The church has been here, bearing Christian witness, for the best part of 800 years, and we are part of that today.
Lindfield is classed as a fairly well-to-do area and the house prices reflect that, with over 50 listed properties in the High Street. But the village has the same issues faced by many communities. In some places, the problems would tumble out onto the streets, but here they're behind big gates and high walls. One of the challenges for us is how do we reach people with the gospel in this situation, when the presenting needs aren't nearly as obvious as in other places?'
Says Hugh: 'For the many older people in our community, one of the big issues can be loneliness. And so it's really exciting on a Tuesday morning to see over 60 retired people gathering together in the church to meet up, chat over coffee, take part in activities and to hear a thought for the day about the Lord Jesus and what he's done for them.
I've been here for nine months as a curate and the work I'm doing is very varied. There are the usual things of Anglican ministry, but all sorts of initiatives, too, such as pioneering work with men. The training I received at Oak Hill has really equipped me for my work here. The depth of teaching has given me the resources and tools to help me answer the questions and think through the problems and issues in parish ministry.'
See more of Stuart and Hugh's story of life in ministry in the video above, or read about them in the Oak Hill booklet, Into all the world.
Read the Into all the world booklet online, or download it as a PDF
See our video of Jon Putt, who works as part of the ministry team in Kempston, near Bedford
See our video of Gabrielle Samuel, who is part of a ministry team in Brixton
See our video of Robin and Zoe Ham's story of pioneer ministry in Barrow-in-Furness