Huge welcome to our new Vicar


We are delighted to welcome Alison Sowton who is joining St Mary’s Church in Shirehampton as their new vicar and Missioner for Life Events in the Avonside Mission Area.

Alison was born in Glasgow but raised in Ardrishaig in Argyll until moving down to Weymouth when she was 11 years old. Happily married to Derek for twenty years, Alison has a lot of family around her with four children and five grandchildren that all bring them great joy!

Alison and Derek share a passion for people and love to be out and about, finding good places to eat and to meeting new friends - even better if the weather is good. They love nothing better than to get on their motorbike. Alison is also an avid reader and loves to bake.

Alison’s working life has been varied, from reconditioning diesel fuel injectors to working in a childcare team - both great ways of honing skills and learning about people and their fears and joys.

In 2004, Alison read Philosophy and English Literature at Marjon, Plymouth and then moved to Queens Foundation in Birmingham where she did her ordination training. Alison’ post-graduate studies were in Contextual Theology, a subject that continues to inspire her ministry today.

Alison was ordained in 2009 and served her curacy at All Saints Church in South Oxhey, Hertfordshire. Alison has been a Team Vicar in Melksham, Wiltshire for the last 8 years, serving in St Andrew’s Church and across the team. Alison has also served as a pioneer minister on a large housing estate which included working with schools and their ecumenical Messy Church.

Alison said, “I am delighted to be joining Bristol Diocese working both at St Mary’s Church and as a Missioner for Life Events in the Avonside Mission Area.

“The profile and subsequent visit really spoke of their desire to work within their community and to walk alongside people as they experience major events in their lives. I am passionate about sharing the gospel in creative and engaging ways and look forward to working together as we seek God’s plan for this new season.

I truly believe this is a moment in the life of our Churches to embrace a post covid world, working with our communities to bring true transformation. We are both looking forward to getting to know everyone as we begin this part of our journey.”

Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol said, “I am very pleased about this appointment. Alison comes with varied experience both inside and outside the Church and will be an asset both at St Mary’s and in the wider Mission Area, particularly as she leads on life events. We welcome her warmly!”

Anne and Richard, Church Wardens at St Mary’s Church concluded, “The congregation were delighted to hear the news and we look forward to welcoming Alison and Derek to the Parish.

“We also look forward to Alison’s leadership in growing the church family, living in and being part of the community of Shirehampton and the other Churches in the Mission Area. We pray for Alison and Derek as we begin this new chapter together.”


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