Proud to be a ‘self-supporting’ minister

PRIDE The Rev Peter Lambert, right, after he was licensed as assistant deanery priest by Bishop Christopher Foster, left
PRIDE The Rev Peter Lambert, right, after he was licensed as assistant deanery priest by Bishop Christopher Foster, left
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YOU may not know that some Church of England priests are actually volunteers.

They have a ‘day job’ that pays the bills, but are also happy to lead services at evenings and weekends.

We call them ‘self-supporting ministers’, and I’m one of those unpaid priests in this area.

My full-time job is as a chartered surveyor at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Most of my work colleagues know about my other role, and sometimes the two overlap.

I’ve been asked to carry out burials at sea, remembrance and other services, or to provide pastoral support at times of need.

I was originally ordained in Portsmouth Cathedral in 2012, and then served as curate for four years at Christ Church and Holy Trinity Churches in Gosport. It meant I continued my training under the vicar there, the Rev Andy Davis.

Recently I was given a new role.

The bishop licensed me as an assistant deanery priest for the whole of the Gosport area, at a service at St Mary’s Church, Rowner.

My main focus is still at Christ Church and Holy Trinity, where you will find me presiding at a Sunday service or officiating at occasional offices such as baptisms, weddings and funerals.

I also lead various groups such as liturgical dance (not that I dance), Heart for the Homeless project and other community group meetings, and visit people in homes or hospitals.

The main difference since being made deanery priest is that any CofE church in Gosport can ask me to lead a service for them if their regular ministers aren’t around.

I believe that having a secular job as well as being a priest allows me to understand the challenges faced by many sectors of the community better.

I am so fortunate to be involved in initiatives such as Gosport Street Pastors and School Pastors where I am chair of trustees, and also Gloworm, a new charity being set up to provide light and hope to families in need across the Hampshire region.

I’m also married to Sue and have six children, so allowing time for myself and the family obviously presents its challenges.

But it is something I believe that God has called me to do and it is a privilege to serve those who live in Gosport in this way.


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