New Vicar Announcement 

The Good Shepherd is about to move into a new era…

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Having been without a Vicar for a full 18 months, the Church of the Good Shepherd will begin a new phase of life in mid-November under the leadership of the Revd Russ Smart.

Russ is a familiar face to us! He has served the fellowship as our Associate Vicar since March 2015, having arrived with a very different brief to that normally served to someone coming in to be ‘the vicar’. He worked alongside the Revd Rachel Bennetts until she left in May 2017 and since then has been very busy indeed.

‘The process of seeking a new Vicar has been lengthy and not without its challenges', says Russ, 'and I decided to apply only as we moved towards our third round of advertising and interviews.  I have had time to get to know the Church well, and, yes, of course there are weaknesses, but there are also many strengths and a lot of potential. I'm looking forward to leading this church and I'm excited about the future!’

As the Vacancy process got under way, the Good Shepherd was in the process of formal transition from being part of a ‘Team Ministry’ in relationship with St Peter’s into what the Church of England calls a ‘Group Ministry’.  The effect of that change means that although the Church of the Good Shepherd began as a mission outreach of St Peter’s,  we now stand on our own as a local parish church and Russ will be ‘Vicar’ rather than ‘Team Vicar’ under the jurisdiction of St Peter’s.

During the vacancy period, changes to the way things have been done are not permitted  and Russ’s role has been to maintain the ‘status quo’. His presence as Associate Vicar has been both a vital resource and a blessing, but his new role as Vicar sees his hands untied and the business of ministry able to change up a gear.  He can now focus on the many spiritual, social and pastoral challenges that we face in our strategic North Farnborough setting.

The Revd Russ Smart will take up his new post formally at a service on the 6th November at 7.30pm. Called an ‘Induction, Installation and Licensing’ the service will be conducted by Bishop Jo Bailey Wells, the Bishop of Dorking.   

Russ, Sarah and their son are well known and loved here at the Good Shepherd, but they will be welcomed anew and given a new focus as they move into the vicarage and Russ is released to lead us into a new phase of ministry.