In the last of our Reader profiles for this year, we meet Philip Parr who serves at Carr Mill St David.
Philip has always been a Christian but says that he really came back to God during the miners’ strike of 1984, when he was working at Sutton Manor Colliery. “Things happened during the strikes that really stayed with me,” said Philip. “Seeing the way that people had helped each other out, their generosity, and the hardship they faced together, really made me think about how I could serve others.”
After 21 years working in the mines, Philip then spent thirteen years as a verger, eight of those spent at Christ Church in Eccleston and five years at Manchester Cathedral.
After many years working in a church environment, Philip took a break and moved into finance where he has worked ever since. Despite the career move, Philip says that his faith was not diminished and he was still close to God.
It was a chance meeting with some old friends eight years ago that got Philip back into attending church regularly. “My wife and I hadn’t seen them in years and they invited us to St David’s, where I felt really welcome.”
After Philip had attended St David’s for a while he began thinking about the next step and spoke to his vicar who agreed that a Reader course would suit Philip well, and he decided to take on the challenge. Philip’s wife Christine is also a Reader at St Aidan’s in Billinge and they have four grown up children.
Philip regularly preaches in his church, which he says is what he enjoys most about his role. “I work through the week, and the fact that I enjoy preaching fits in perfectly with the time I can give to St David’s. I hope I can have as much impact on the congregation on a Sunday through my preaching as I would if I was able to serve at St David’s every day.”
Philip also leads services and cell groups at St David’s. Philip says that his experience of different church environments has helped him in his role as Reader, “At Manchester Cathedral I was involved in large civic services, and I spent time at a High Church as part of my placement during my Reader training, whilst St David’s has more in common with Low Church. I am very open to different types of worship, and I am lucky to have had such a full experience of church.”
Philip will balance his job in finance with his Reader Ministry. He says that his faith helps him in his role as an Area Credit Manager, “I take a Christian attitude to my job, by showing tolerance and understanding when dealing with people. I hope that my faith really comes through when I am dealing with people on a professional basis.”