With the retirement of Fr Jeremy Dowding, ssc., the parish will be in Interregnum (Vacancy). Replacing a Parish Priest is usually quite a slow process, however, services will continue every Sunday during the Interregnum and some weekday services from September.
All requests for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals should be directed to the churchwardens during the Interregnum.
We are truly fortunate to have the services of Fr Nick Cook through the first year of the interregnum. He is an exceptional preacher and a great priest. Do come along and meet him on Sundays at 11am. You won’t be disappointed.
THE REVEREND (WING COMMANDER) NICHOLAS COOK RAuxAF SSC (In his own words)
Father Nick was dragged up in Hemel Hempstead as the son of a fireman. On father’s promotion to Station Commander, Loughborough, Fr Nick started his ordination journey with Leicester Diocese.
After O Levels Fr Nick had various jobs before settling into a Woolworth’s management scheme, which saw him become their youngest store manager of ‘Shoppers World’, Coalville (romantic name, romantic place…).
His vocation to the priesthood had started at age 15 but the then bishop was having none of it, so Fr Nick secured a role as a charity-funded church youth and community worker in Notting Dale, West London (the church at the foot of Grenfell Tower). St Clement Notting Dale was an extraordinary experience, working with some of the most deprived children in London. Whilst there the new bishop of Leicester selected him for training for the priesthood, and three years at Lincoln Theological College.
Ordained in Leicester Diocese in 1984, he was curate of a deprived parish in the red-light area of the city. A very diverse parish with a largely Caribbean congregation it was all he could have hoped for.
At theological college Fr Nick had developed a love for chaplaincy in psychiatry and after his curacy was appointed chaplain, then senior chaplain to England’s largest mental health authority (Leicestershire), until the hospitals were run down and closed under ‘care in the community’. It was here that Fr Nick married Lin, from St Clement’s Notting Dale.
As a foil to the demands of mental health he had joined the Territorial Army in 1988, as a Chaplain, and it was this that began his next ‘love’, the Armed Forces. After three years as Chaplain of the Walsingham Shrine’s Prep School in Harrow he took up a Regular commission in 1994 and the family were posted to Germany. Deployed with an infantry unit to the war in Bosnia, with the United Nations, he set the pattern for a rich, busy and demanding career, completing 20 years as a Regular, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. In that time he completed four operational tours of the Balkans and three in Afghanistan, the last as Force Senior Chaplain with 16 Air Assault Brigade (from Colchester) in Helmand. He has ministered all over the world, including India and Ascension Island, as well as 6 years, over three tours, in Germany.
The family settled in Colchester some ten years ago. Retirement from the Army saw him use his PGCE as a school chaplain for four years. The prospect of retirement from the Armed Forces was unwelcome and he transferred his commission to the RAF Reserves in 2014. Giving up school chaplaincy last year he now continues to serve as a deployable chaplain.
Fr Nick is a carpenter and will tackle almost any home-improvement job. He is a Signalling volunteer on the Mid-Norfolk Railway and a keen railway modeller who hopes, one day, to rebuild Leicester Central station, albeit in miniature.