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New vicar moves from Pakistan to West Winch

The Rev Riaz Mubarak with his family, Mrs Mary Riaz, Uphaz Austin Riaz (9) and Ecclesia Abbie Riaz (6). ANL-140704-083845001

The Rev Riaz Mubarak with his family, Mrs Mary Riaz, Uphaz Austin Riaz (9) and Ecclesia Abbie Riaz (6). ANL-140704-083845001

Travel comes with the job of a vicar – but West Norfolk’s newest clergyman and his family have moved from Pakistan.

The Rev Riaz Mubarak and his wife Mary with their children Uphaz Austin, nine, and Ecclesia Abbie, six, are now settling into their new home in West Winch after leaving Pakistan in March.

Mr Mubarak is now looking after six churches in West Winch, Setchey, North Runcton, Middleton, East Winch and West Bilney.

The couple had spent about eight years at their previous parish, St Luke’s in Abbottabad when Mr Mubarak, who wanted a fresh challenge, spotted the job on the web.

The family were welcomed to the area during a service in Middleton on Sunday.

Mr Mubarak, 43, said: “We have had a really warm welcome and received lots of greetings cards.

“The children have started West Winch School and are really enjoying it. Over the last few years we had been praying that God may tell us where to go next. I had seen the job advert and applied.

“I want to make the church welcoming where people can come in fellowship and talk.”

Islam is the main religion in Pakistan and Mr Mubarak said there had been some religious tensions.

Abbottabad achieved notoriety worldwide when the architect of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, was killed there by US special forces in 2011.

Mr Mubarak was called to preaching at the age of 19 but worked as a teacher in a college and school for several years. He made the decision to become a priest at the age of 32 and was ordained in 2001.

Mr Mubarak said: “I made the decision to become a full-time priest after talking with a teacher, who was also my bishop. I have never regretted my decision.”

Mr Mubarak worked hard during his time at St Luke’s to gain the respect of the local population and saw his congregation grow from just 27 families to more than 100 by the time he left.

“We made the church welcoming. We shared a love of God.”

Mrs Muburak is a full-time house wife.

 

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