22 May 2024

New vicar ‘feeling settled in already’

by Rebecca Hannant

The new vicar of Withernsea has told how he feels at home in the town after moving there just four weeks ago.

On May 22, Rev Clive Hall was introduced to worshippers in a service licensed by the Bishop of Hull, Eleanor Sanderson. The service was well attended by many people from the town and surrounding villages. Rev Hall’s family also joined him, and refreshments were provided.

Rev Hall started his journey in the churches after he was ordained in Durham Cathedral in July 2018 by Bishop Paul Butler. He then was a curate for three years at All Saints Stranton Church in Hartlepool. However, after two years of searching, Rev Hall says he has finally found what he believes is the “perfect” role in Withernsea.

He said: “I was limiting myself because a lot of the roles advertised meant you would run up to three or four churches, sometimes as many as six. So, when I saw the advert for St Matthew’s and the fact it was one minister for one church it caught my eye.

“When I read the church profile I was attracted even more to the position. It was an open and friendly church that wants to reach out to its neighbours, to be a church that could help in revitalising the area. It wanted to change its style of worship to help attract people to it. So many positive things which made me feel I wanted to help them do that. So, I applied for the role.”

Despite being new to the area, Rev Hall already has some ideas on how he plans to aid the community through the church.

He added: “I have heard there is not much youth work in the town, which means, does the town want to start that up or not? If the answer to this is yes, then can the church help in any way?”

Rev Hall will also be attending local council meetings to help understand the town’s challenges and needs, and will be looking for ways that the church can help.

He added: “The church is next to the lighthouse which is well known for being a beacon of light. We would like the church to become a beacon, one that shares God’s hope, love and joy to everyone.”

Rev Hall described his first experiences of Withernsea as “friendly, talkative and caring”. He and his wife have also begun to engage with the community and some of the groups and organisations in the town.

He added: “We have only been here four weeks, but we have met some lovely people. I have learnt that you can’t just pop to the shops – it always takes a little time as people like to chat and I really like that fact.

“We also love being by the sea – my wife is a sea swimmer all year round and even when it’s raining! She has joined the Mermaids swimming group and of course made friends already. I am a bird watcher and on our first walk along the path into the countryside, behind the leisure centre I saw a cuckoo and bullfinch along with the usual birds.

“We also like the fact you can walk just about everywhere in 15 minutes and can leave the car at home. We are feeling settled already.”