New Swaffham vicar settles into role

Rev Janet Allan the new Vicar of St Peter and St Paul Church in Swaffham and St Mary Church Sporle.
Rev Janet Allan the new Vicar of St Peter and St Paul Church in Swaffham and St Mary Church Sporle.

Swaffham’s new vicar hopes to bring people together as she begins her first full day in the role today.

The Rev Janet Allan has succeeded the Rev Tim Lawes as vicar of the town’s St Peter and St Paul Church, and St Mary’s Church, Sporle.

A licensing service, led by the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Rev Graham James, was held in Swaffham last night.

And Rev Allan says she plans to be an “obvious presence” in the community.

But, as well as looking at ways to attract more people to the churches, she wants them to facilitate greater community connections.

She said: “We’re there for the whole community, whether they come to the church or not, to support and get to know people.

“That is something the church has to have time for in these squeezed times. People can be a lot more isolated in today’s society.”

Although she has no previous connections with the area, Rev Allan said she was inspired to move Norfolk with her husband when she visited the parish for the first time last autumn.

“I thought it was just a wonderful benefice to come to. There’s a good mix of people in the community.”

Originally from Liverpool, Rev Allan has moved to Swaffham from Essex.

She was ordained as a priest there three years ago and was previously assistant curate at St Augustine’s Church in Thorpe Bay, near Southend.

Prior to her theological training, she worked as a librarian for the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the Senate House Library at the University of London.

She was ordained as a deacon in 2013, before being ordained as a priest the following year.