Reverend David Smith writes (March 2020):
I’m aware that by the time you’re reading this I will either be imminently awaiting being ‘Licensed and Installed’ as Priest-in-Charge of not one but two benefices (the Raveningham Group and also the Waveney Benefice), or I will indeed have just been ‘plumbed in’, and what a wonderful and profound privilege that is for me in so many ways. I’d been asked by your editor to prepare a piece for this month’s edition ahead of the Licensing service and in the occasional wandering thought while I’ve been sorting out and packing at my previous Rectory I wondered quite how one properly introduces themselves in just a few words to people who had not previously been met. I realised that my first submission to the magazine would feel a little like some kind of ecclesiastical speed-dating. Well let’s have a go.
My name is David Smith, I’m 46 years old and I’ve been married to my wife Naomi for nearly fifteen years. Naomi works as a marine chemist in civil service and also as a PhD supervisor at the UEA. We have two high-octane, adventurous little daughters; Catherine, who will be 8 in September, and Emma, shortly to be 4 and starting school in September. I was born and raised in a small rural village in North Norfolk, where my mother was a housewife and my father spent his whole working life as a farm labourer for three generations of the same farming family. I spent nearly 28 years of my life in the village before moving ‘up the city’ and it was the most wonderful period of time, although not without its inevitable challenges as well as joys, all of which helped me to gain a very deep understanding of rural life. Having spent over twenty years as an accountant in general practice in Norwich, I trained for ordination at Westcott House in Cambridge for two years before being ordained deacon in Norwich Cathedral in June 2012 and to priesthood a year later. I come to SE Norfolk having firstly been Assistant Curate in the very busy and demanding town parish of Thorpe St Andrew before moving on to be Priest-in-Charge of the Harling United Benefice in SW Norfolk, where I have been from March 2016 until just last month. I now reside at the rectory in Geldeston as I take on the task of leading the Anglican churches of two benefices comprising 14 villages; two benefices very soon to be joined together as one.
It was with great delight and excitement that I accepted the invitation to come to these benefices; a beautiful part of the world with a rich history and heritage as well as some lovely and very interesting communities – with their superb schools, pubs, village halls and many interest groups – and, of course, their wonderful churches. I was struck, especially, by the generosity and warmth of welcome of your churchwardens and others who were keen to meet with me to talk through their hopes for the future – people keen to move forward, keen to serve their neighbour, who cherished their communities and the people in them. I am very much looking forward to working alongside these really lovely dedicated people in sharing the good news of Jesus in word and loving service.
I love being out and about meeting people, and so if in the next days and weeks you come across a bespectacled, increasingly balding man in black with a small rucksack over his shoulder and a smile on his face, it’ll very likely be me – do say hello, just as I intend to; it’ll be great to meet you!
I have always been a dedicated and prayerful priest, committed to pray for those people and parishes in his care, sharing the joy of our Lord as I get around and visiting those who are in need. I hope to do all I can to serve you with diligence and humility and I can’t wait to experience the fullness of our new locality here as Naomi, the children and I make our home amongst you.
With every blessing to you.