St Peter Mancroft Norwich interim minister Ian Bentley aims to strenghten neighbourly bonds
PUBLISHED: 08:22 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:22 06 November 2017
The interim minister at St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, Ian Bentley, hopes to reinforce the church's ties with its city centre neighbours.
The Rev Bentley assumed the role in September, and has been tasked with sourcing a permanent replacement, as well as overseeing the training of a new curate.
Mr Bentley said the appointment was not part of his plan.
“My wife and I loved it at St Mark’s in Lowestoft, where we’ve spent the past 11 and a half year and this came as a big surprise. But you sort of know when something is God’s will in my line of work.”
During his time at St Peter Mancroft, Mr Bentley is aiming to reinforce the church’s position as a caring and connected civic centre.
He said: “The church has been serving Norwich since 1430, and of course, the city has changed immeasurably since then, and we need to look at how we can continue to serve in this fast-paced world.
“We need to engage with the issues around us - particularly homelessness. The church has helped young people in the past with the Mancroft Advice Project, but homelessness is a growing problem in Norwich, and I don’t see how a church like ours can overlook that.
“The Salvation Army are already doing great work, providing meals outside our doors, and we need to work out how we can effectively build on that.”
The new minister also plans to ensure the church plays an active role in the city’s arts scene.
He said: “I want to strengthen our connections with music and the arts by working closely with our neighbours, such as the theatre and the Forum. We may have slightly different aims but we all seek to serve the city and it would be great to work together.”
The church is due to close for four months from January, as the east end is extended.