Peter Widdicombe, Priest-in-Charge 1991-1993

The Diocesan Duties of the Priest-in-Charge:
My appointment to Penn is a shared position with the Diocese of Oxford. Two days a week I teach in various programmes for the Diocese. In the autumn of Ihe past year I taught a course in Patristics for the Non-Stipendiary Ministries programme of the Diocese. The NSM programme provides theological training for those who wish to be ordained, and will thus be able to fulfil all the functions of a Church of England clergyperson, but who will remain employed in secular jobs and receive their income from those jobs. The programme is three years long and is very demanding. The students attend lectures one night a week for most weeks of the year and have weekend and summer seminars. There are forty students in the programme and it is expanding. The students are made up of teachers, nurses, lawyers, academics, housewives and businessmen.’ The Church of England is suffering increasingly from a shortage of clergy and Ihis is one of the ways the Church is attempting to meet the need.. The course I taught dealt wilh the development of the doctrines of the Trinity and the person and work of Christ in the first five centuries of the Church, which are my particular specialities. In an article in a subsequent issue of the parish magazine I shall describe more fully my academic interests.

This spring I have been teaching a course in Patristics for the Faculty of Theology at Oxford. In the autumn I shall be leading a seminar in the historical and theological significance of the Nicene Creed for the diocesan programme for the continuing education of the parochial clergy.  It is likely that most of those who attend will be from the Buckinghamshire area of the Diocese.  Next spring I shall be teaching a course in systematic theology for the Thamesway lay training programme, which is based in Slough.

The work requires a great deal of time and energy, but ensures that I continue to read, and so, I trust, contributes to my preaching and the pastoral work I do in the parish.  It also means that the Priest-in-Charge of Penn has, for good or ill, a slightly higher profile in the diocese than might otherwise be the case.

Rev. Peter Widdicombe, June 1991.


Following my appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies in McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, I have, with regret, submitted my resignation as Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity to the Bishop of Buckingham. Karen and I have made many friends here and I have been greatly encouraged by the increasingly flourishing life of the Christian community in the parish. I appreciate deeply the kindness and support I have been given since we arrived. Such things one does not forget.

The position at McMaster is a rare and attractive one: the Department is considered to be the best in Canada and eighty people applied for the post. The Department is primarily concerned with the teaching of post-graduates and it has undergraduates as well. The position is ideally suited to me, allowing me to address my main theological interests. I shall be teaching undergraduate courses in the history of Christian thought from the second to the twemieth centuries and I shall be teaching post-graduate seminars and supervising theses in both early and modem Christian theology. I shall also be doing research in early and modem theology.

Hamilton is located around the western end of Lake Ontario, forty minutes from Toronto, where Karen and I lived before coming to England. I am pleased to be returning to my home country.

Our last Sunday in the parish will be May 30th.

Peter Widdicombe, March 1993

This entry was first published by .