Visiting Clergy

This page will be used to show our visitors and talk a little about their backgrounds and experiences. Now that we have become a worship centre of St George’s Barcelona, we have the big advantage of being able to welcome their chaplain, Revd John Chapman, each quarter and his ordained wife, Revd Deborah Chapman, even more frequently. 

REVD DEBORAH CHAPMAN:

Deborah came to visit us in 2016 and has been instrumental in helping us find a way forward for the next three years, a way forward that includes up to ten visits a year from Revd Deborah

Born in a small town in Massachusetts, the first of 5 children, my parents took me to Argentina when I was a year old. This is how I grew up bilingual, with Spanish as my first spoken language. I have lived in five different countries in Latin America, as well as various places in the U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Papua New Guinea and most recently, in Sharjah (UAE). I am now a cleric with Permission to Officiate in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar, accompanying my husband John who is the Chaplain at St George’s Barcelona.

 John, from Scotland, and I met in 1977, at the London Bible College, after I had moved to London in 1976 to study linguistics and then theology, having been accepted as a Bible translator with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We married in 1980, and thereafter worked together in Christian mission with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (1979-1991), and Latin Link (1991-2002) before both of us became ordained Anglican Deacons then Priests. I served in the Willesden Area of the Diocese of London from 2005-2013, before moving to the UAE for a year in 2013 and then on to Barcelona in 2014.

 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour one night when staying in a hotel in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia – my apologies if you need an atlas to work out where that is! I was 16 at the time. Nothing has brought me more satisfaction in life than allowing my Lord to guide me into that fullness of life that He promises in John 10.10. My husband John and our two married children and their spouses – Matthew (and Belinda) and Kirstin (and Elliot) are a huge part of the full life He has given me, as is the pleasure of serving Him as an ordained minister. I also enjoy walking, swimming, reading, writing, painting, cooking and being an occasional academic.

REVD CANON MEL SMITH:

Mel came back to visit us in 2015 and agreed to start providing us with simple services recorded on CD for us to use for our second service each month. He came back again in 2016 to see how we were doing and how the CDs had been working, and then went away and produced more. He was back with us again in April 2017 and has been producing still more CDs for us to help us out for the second services for the rest of 2017.

Mel writes – I grew up in a pit village on the edge of the North Staffordshire Potteries. After sixth form I went on to study for a degree in Theology at King’s College, University of London. After five years at King’s I went straight on to ordination in my home Diocese of Lichfield and I retired from paid ministry four years ago . Most of my adult life has been lived in the Black Country, to which Kasia, my wife, and I moved when I was first ordained. We’ve been there ever since, apart from a three year spell in North Mallorca. Kasia and I have two children – Chris(topher), who’s a musician, runs a recording studio and is a Trainee Minister in the Assemblies of God, and Helen, who works as a trainer and consultant caring for those with learning difficulties. For most of my ordained ministry my prime focus has been on building the Body of Christ by encouraging and enabling church people to discover a personal relationship with Jesus and to be blessed by God’s Holy and Life-Giving Spirit. Since retirement I have enjoyed being able to give more time to biblical studies and, as a result, I have found that some of my opinions and attitudes have begun to be challenged and changed – praise God!

 

REVD. PAUL NEEDLE:

Paul came back to visit us for Harvest Festival in October 2014 and then came back again in 2015 and 2016. Then he said he had run out of harvest themed sermons, so instead of harvest time, he visited us in July and September in 2017. While John and Deborah Chapman enjoy a three month sabbatical in 019 he will join us again twice in 2019 – in June and August.

Paul is a Northamptonshire lad who went to Wellingborough Grammar School, when David Frost was a prefect. He was ordained in 1970 and served two curacies in Bradford and Pudsey (West Yorkshire). During that time he drifted into religious broadcasting with BBC Radio Leeds. From there a full time broadcasting career took him to commercial radio in Bradford, Peterborough and his home town of Northampton.  He became News Editor and later Station Manager.

In 1985 he was appointed Director of Broadcast Journalism at City University in London. During his ten years there he also became Vicar (non stipendiary) of two country villages in Northamptonshire and worked as a freelance with BBC Radio Northampton. His radio work included five years hosting the religious Sunday Breakfast show and he still contributes to that programme occasionally, including doing a couple of them from his home in Spain. In 1996 he became Communications Officer for the Diocese in Europe, handling media matters, editing The European Anglican and updating the website news pages.

Paul and his wife Lynda came to the Costa Azahar, on the Mediterranean coast just north of Valencia, in 1997 when he became the first Priest-in-Charge of a small church which had just been granted a constitution and part of the Diocese in Europe. St Christopher´s now has three worshipping congregations along a 60 mile stretch of coast – each with its own drop-in centre where locals are made welcome and books, clothing and bric-a-brac are sold to support the church ministry. He retired as Vicar at the end of February 2012 and he and his wife divide their time between England and their Spanish home.

His interests include transport – trains, buses and canal boats, music (he plays in a jazz quartet), reading, and currently researching local history from the Spanish Civil War.