The Vestry Secretary, Mrs Liz Sidebottom writes:

As you may know, interviews were held this past week for our new Rector.  We had had 26 expressions of interest and eight applications from which, the Vestry short-listed four to come for interview.

The Vestry had the opportunity to meet the candidates socially on Wednesday (13 May) evening and formal Vestry interviews, including an individual meeting with the Bishop were held on Thursday 14 May. The Vestry appreciated all the candidates who brought different strengths to the table, but were unanimous in their choice of the one they wished to present to the Bishop.  The Bishop agreed that he would be happy to appoint him, subject to the usual satisfactory Disclosure being received.

I and the rest of the Vestry are delighted to inform you that the Revd Dr Alasdair Charles Coles has accepted the appointment to be the next Rector of All Saints’, St Andrews.

Alasdair Coles is no stranger to All Saints’ and St Andrews having been an undergraduate here in the late 80s obtaining a degree in Physics. He even lived for a while in Castle Wynd. His sense of vocation was nurtured at All Saints’. Following a PGCE at Homerton Cambridge, he was a resident worker in a house for homeless people in Cambridge, he helped run a diocesan youth centre and was Pastoral Assistant at St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens, London. He then went to Rippon-Cuddesdon, Oxford where he took a BTh and later a PhD in Patristics at Heythrop College, London.

Alasdair is currently Assistant Principal and Chaplain at All Saints’ Academy, Dunstable, which is a newly founded secondary academy, sponsored by the Diocese of St Albans and the University of Bedfordshire. He undertakes the pastoral care of some 1000 students, staff and families while also deploying himself to numerous churches in times of vacancy and holiday. His previous clerical posts since ordination in 1997 include Curate, Wymondham with Spooner Row, a Norfolk market town with rural daughter church; Minor Canon, St Paul’s Cathedral London; Priest in Charge then Vicar, St Mary’s Bourne Street & St Barnabas Pimlico, two central London “shrine” churches.

He is currently Precentor of the Musicians’ Memorial Chapel, leading sung services at St Sepulchre’s, Holborn. He has a keen interest in music and tells me that he is a tenor.

Among other areas of interest and activity he is a school governor, a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition trainer, is interested in ecology, particularly the sustainable and ethical growing of food and animal husbandry, and Liturgical music, anything from Gregorian chant to Taizé.

I am sure other members of Vestry have their own impressions of Alasdair but I found him a man of humility and quiet authority, interested in everyone he met.  He has told me that he has had to be firm with himself over the last few weeks in order not to run away in excitement with the possibility of returning to St Andrews and All Saints’.

If everything goes according to plan the Bishop has indicated that an institution in the last week of August should be possible.   We have a lot of work to do before that date!

I shall end with a final word from Alasdair himself –

“Please give the congregation and clergy team our greetings. We look forward enormously to joining the community, worshipping again at All Saints, and exploring where being faithful and imaginative with you will lead.”

See also