Our new Priest-in-Charge, Reverend Tif Ewins talks about her background
and future plans for St Michael’s over a cuppa…
Q: So let’s start with some background, have you always served in London?
I was brought up in W. Sussex then moved to London in 1997 when I finished university. I have actually lived in SW11 for almost all of the last 20 years. James and I got married at our church, St Mark’s Battersea Rise, in 1998. We had our children here and they have all been in local nurseries and schools.
From 2009 we had a couple of years away when we lived in Bangalore, India while James served as a Field Office Director for International Justice Mission. But then we came back and I was trained for ordination at St Mellitus in Earl’s Court and Kings.
Q: When did you decide to work in the Church?
James had lymphoma in 2003 and again in 2006. After the second bout we both decided to take some time out to ask God what God wanted us to do with the rest of our lives. It felt like a miracle that James was alive and well and our marriage had made it too! So we wanted to know how to use this gift we had been given. It was then that I felt God calling me to ordained ministry in the Church of England, and James felt called to anti-slavery work.
Q: So why St Michael’s?
St Michael’s is the parish church for the area I love and call home. This job feels like a huge and exciting gift and a way to serve my local community in the best way I can. It means that I can nurture my vocation in the church and my vocation to my family. At St Michael’s I want to find a way where each of these callings truly feeds the other.
Q: What do you think the major challenges will be in the new role?
St Michael’s needs to find its purpose in an area that had changed hugely, even in the last 5 to10 years. The church community needs to do that tricky thing of being true to its heritage and its roots whilst also being outward looking and missional.
The church needs to grow and reconnect with the young people and families in the area. For some that may be an uncomfortable ride and leading that will have its ups and downs. The key thing is to remember that the church, every church, is made up of fragile and broken people. I will make mistakes and hurt people and I will get hurt too. But the measure of the community will be in the quality of our apologizing and forgiving from that inevitable point. God does not call us to perfection, but to committed community marked by love.inevitable point. God does not call us to perfection, but to committed community marked by love.
Q: What are you most looking forward to?
Building on what is already going really well, for example the sense of community, the Day Centre and the music. Also helping the church develop a culture where we are ready and willing to try new things. I’m looking forward to loving and tending those already here and to introducing people of all ages to the God who loves them for the first time. It is all so exciting!
Q: Any initial changes planned?
For practical reasons we have just moved the service on a Sunday to 10am. But apart from that my first task is to listen and hear the priorities of the local community, the church members and of course the Holy Spirit as I walk about and pray, with others, for this amazing place full of wonderful schools, businesses, outdoor space, and fantastic people. I’m intending to meet up with all the members of the current congregation and hear about what you think the priorities of St Michael’s might be.
I’d love to get a Mission Action Planning (MAP) Team together after Easter to take us forward into this new season for St Michael’s.
Tif many thanks, we all look forward to welcoming you to St Michael’s later this month.