The PCC (Parochial Church Council) has announced the appointment of the Rev Jo (Joanna) Allen as Vicar for The Bridge Group. She replaces the Rev Canon Paul Wignall who left in May.
Jo is soon to complete her Curacy, which she has served in the Benefice of Goring and Streatley with South Stoke.
Jo says: “I’m excited to meet you all. I’m a 36-year-old ‘pioneer’ minister – someone trained to help people explore their faith in creative ways, focusing on those outside the current church community. I’m a mother of three and married to Luke who is a public health doctor. I grew up in Kent and have lived, studied, and worked in Worcester, Bristol, Sri Lanka, Truro, Boston (USA) and rural Oxfordshire.
My life-long passions are seeing people come to know Jesus, encouraging the church to live life fully in the Spirit, and social justice.
I’m also the Director for the South West at Rural Ministries. This charity re-thinks and re-imagines church to engage with God’s mission in rural communities; encourages pioneering church leaders; and engages different denominations around rural mission. I have also just completed a theology masters and will likely continue my studies in the future.
Stories about the rural church often involve decline and a loss of hope for the future. When I read the Bible, I see a God who loves the forgotten places, a God who brings life and hope. This is the same story of Jesus that I see in rural communities across England, where Christians have rediscovered who we are as church and engaged with their local community in new ways. The rural church story is also a story of life and hope, and I can’t wait to be part of God’s story in the Dorchester Team.
That all sounds a little too serious doesn’t it! So, for fun I love spending time with my family, walking our rather large dog, playing football, kayaking, jumping in the river, and competing for gaming time with my boys. I’m excited to join the team to love, serve, and discover God’s heart for the community with you.”