Gaywood church is ‘for the community,’ says new team vicar

Appointment of New Team Vicar at St Faith's Church, Gaywood 
LtoR, Reverend Karlene Kerr with Reverend Julie Boyd outside St Faith's.
Appointment of New Team Vicar at St Faith's Church, Gaywood LtoR, Reverend Karlene Kerr with Reverend Julie Boyd outside St Faith's.

A new team vicar who is set to be the first member of the clergy based in Fairstead for 20 years is hoping to build relationships with residents there.

Karlene Kerr, 58, is set to move to Gaywood from London for her new role at St Faith’s Church, which she officially begins in June.

Rev Kerr said: “St Faith’s is a church for the community, not just for Christian people. I will be particularly responsible for the Fairstead and King’s Reach areas in terms of visiting people and developing relationships.

“People can come to me to talk, I will listen. They can ask me questions about God and about the church.”

Community developments such as mum and toddler groups, coffee mornings and Bible study groups could also be arranged, she said.

“I see my role here being primarily to work to bring the love of God to the people of Gaywood, to learn as much as I can from the community and to build relationships with all the denominations in the area,” she added.

Rev Kerr will join rector Rev Julie Boyd as part of the team at St Faith’s – where Anglicans and Methodists worship together.

The new team vicar, who is originally from Jamaica, moved to the UK when she was 12-years-old.

She said: “My upbringing was Christian – going to church was just a part of life in Jamaica, it was just part of society full stop.

“So when I came here aged 12, I was actually quite shocked that people didn’t go to church as much. My parents stopped going as regularly but I went by myself, I tried to pester them to go with me but my dad said ‘I can lie in my bed and worship my God’.”

This was the case until Rev Kerr was 19, when in her early twenties she began to question her faith.

“I call it my long argument with God. I rebelled because I was suddenly aware of so much suffering in the world. I hadn’t lost my faith entirely, but I came back fully in my late twenties.”

She said it was a combination of the birth of her daughter and a number of ‘supernatural experiences’ which left her feeling a great amount of warmth for her faith.

Rev Kerr was ordained in London and decided to apply for the job in Gaywood after a conversation with Bishop of Lynn Jonathan Meyrick last year.

The team vicar’s first service will be held on Thursday, June 1 at 7.30pm at the church, with the Bishop also expected to attend.