Reverend Christine Judson
Getting to know you……
Reverend Christine Judson the Vicar of The Huntspills & Mark
In ‘normal’ times, settling into a new parish would involve quite a few chats over cups of tea. That is a bit difficult at the moment – so I hope this article will help a little, and may I recommend a cup of tea to go with it? I’ve been told that in ‘The Huntspills & Mark’ our children are really important, so I contacted our primary schools and asked what questions they would like to ask their new vicar. What follows is my attempt to answer those questions….
My name is Revd. Christine Judson, though ‘Rev Chris’ is a little easier, and ‘Chris’ is just fine. I’ve been a vicar for ten years, all of it in Portishead (just south of Bristol) and I really do like being a vicar. Before this I was a secondary school teacher of science (particularly physics) and maths. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, especially when I could bring together different aspects like making (and eating) Baked Alaska to show the insulating properties of air(!). I became a vicar because I felt that God was calling me to do that, and so did other people – this was tested quite rigorously before I was accepted for training. In many ways it feels as though being a vicar makes sense of who I am, what I’ve done and experienced so far and who I am becoming. That said, I believe that being a vicar is more about depending on God than on myself.
I was born in the month of February, in a little village near Leicester, many years ago. My favourite colour is blue and my favourite animal is the penguin. I don’t currently have any pets, but I have had all sorts in the past – including a goat called Muttley. My favourite type of cake is Devil’s Food cake (a rich, moist chocolate cake, with coffee fudge icing), though I do try to eat a healthy and varied diet, without too much cake. Although I do not have any children of my own, I am richly blessed in my God-daughter, who is like a daughter to me. I enjoy travelling, and through school trips and holidays I have been to the following countries: England (though I guess that doesn’t count), Wales, Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Tenerife, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
As a vicar I generally get up out of bed at about 7am. My life can vary a lot. I like the security of a routine, but I also need to be flexible – so if I have been working extremely late the night before, I sometimes have a lie-in to recover. I don’t have a uniform as such, but there are some things that identify my role – especially the clerical collar (white band at the front of my neck, informally referred to as a dog-collar). When I am leading a service I often wear special robes and it is always an honour to do this.
One of the joys of being a vicar is marrying people. Meeting couples, supporting them as they approach their wedding day, conducting their marriage service and being there for them in the future is a real delight. I am very much looking forward to doing that for couples in Mark, East Huntspill & West Huntspill Churches, whether or not they usually attend church. The church is there for all!
I’m not sure what my favourite Bible story is. I think it changes over time, though I am very fond of the parable that Jesus told of the lost sheep, where the shepherd leaves the 99 to search for the 1. As with so many of the parables, it seems to make no sense, so we have to dig deep to mine its depths. I like both the New Testament and the Old Testament – together they form a magnificent library of books with so much to explore that I will always be learning. Just like many others, I have been doing a lot of home-learning recently – via webinars as well as from books and the internet.
At the moment I still live in Portishead, but I am looking forward to moving into The Rectory, a house near the Church of St Peter & All Hallows in West Huntspill. The delay in my moving has been caused by a sensible and compassionate change in tenancy law brought about by our Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, and his government to protect people from becoming homeless during the pandemic. We have had to make a lot of adjustments over the past year, haven’t we? I’m not scared of the virus, but I am wary of it – I’d rather not get it and really do not want to be responsible for spreading it.
I’d like to thank the children and staff of our primary schools for their questions. I hope my answers have helped you to start to get to know me. I am really looking forward to getting to know the people of The Huntspills & Mark – do feel free to contact me. I know there will be a lot for me to learn about, including the various school ‘House Points’ systems. Please be patient with me!
With God’s blessings,
Chris’ Blog: One surprise after another…
I wonder what pleasant surprises you’ve encountered recently?
Since being licensed as your priest in ‘The Huntspills and Mark’ I’ve had some amazing surprises.
I had been told that we weren’t a very ‘techie’ benefice, but to my delight Sabina in East Huntspill, brilliantly supported by her son Elliott, have proved to be the most fantastic tech-team, and we were able to launch our United Sunday Services on Zoom in record-breaking time. Huge thanks to everyone who has joined us live on Sunday mornings, or who has later accessed the recordings – most are still available via our websites.
Hopefully, by the time you read this we will have re-started services in our church buildings (provided progress has continued in the right direction with the government road map), however an online presence is now part of the picture and we are looking forward to exploring this further. It may prove particularly useful for those who find it difficult to leave home, be that due to mobility problems or caring responsibilities. If you would like help accessing things on zoom (either online or via your telephone landline, please do get in touch).
Even when we aren’t able to sing together, music is a hugely important part of life for many of us. When we do gather together and meet in church, our organists strive to use their various skills to help us by setting the scene, accompanying us, soothing our souls and inspiring our senses. I’ve been very pleased to start to get to know the organists in Mark, East Huntspill & West Huntspill and I am very much looking forward to working with them and with all other musicians who would like to be part of our musical scene. Just imagine my surprise when I realised that our organist at Mark Church, Derek Jones, had also been the organist a couple of years ago at my Mum’s funeral service!
There have been so many connections made over the last few weeks, with heaps of surprises (especially an unexpected link with West Huntspill School) that have left me smiling and thankful.
As we approach Easter this year, I’m guessing we do so with a host of different feelings. This past year has been such a struggle for so many in a myriad of ways. For some the challenges of isolation, while for others the difficulties of sharing living space 24/7 with many people. For some the challenge of working at home (and home schooling), while for others the dangers of not being able to work at home, or the distress of no work at all. For some immense pressures of caring for dependents, while for others the heart break of not being able to be with those they care about, or the desolation of losing loved ones. Against this back drop, we visit afresh the Easter story that we know so well – of the God of love, who lives amongst us as one of us, shares with us the good news that we are loveable and that we are loved beyond measure, and yet dies on a cross. This year, more than ever, I believe that we need to stay at the foot of that cross long enough to recognise that Jesus truly understands the very depths of all human suffering… even the things we have experienced through these difficult times. Only then can we lift our heads to see that this is not the end of the story, and that any good surprise we experience on earth is as nothing compared to the surprise that God has in store through Easter Day. Resurrection is surely the truest form of OMG (Oh My God!?!?) experience that is possible!
As winter turns to spring, as lockdown moves toward release, as the sun rises and the clouds disperse, may we all be gentle with each other (and with ourselves) and may each person find their hearts filled with Easter hope. In the simple words of Alan Ecclestone, ‘You are living, you are loved, there is hope.’
God bless you,
Online Licensing Service
We are pleased to announce that the Bishop has appointed the Reverend Christine Judson to the post of Rector of the Benefice of The Huntspills and Mark.
Please hold Chris in your prayers as she prepares to begin a new ministry among us. Archdeacon Anne thanks everyone involved in the process of bringing this new appointment to fruition.