Meet the Rector

Picture of Revd. Richard ThornileyThe Reverend Canon Richard Thorniley

Who am I?

I am married to Gill and father to Sarah and James. Gill and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in 2010 (we married young) and at long last got round to a honeymoon. Our children now live away from home, being educated formally and informally by life. They are a wonderful answer to prayer as they are feeling fulfilled and challenged by life.

What more do you want to know?

Gill and I joined the Benefice (a collective word for a group of parishes looked after by one clergyman) in June 2001. Before becoming a clergyman I was involved in business-to-business magazine publishing for nearly 20 years and we lived in inner-city London, in Nunhead, a lovely village which neighbours Peckham – of which you might have heard.

We enjoyed our time there and attended two local churches: St Mark’s Kennington and St Mary Magdalene, Nunhead; both lively inner-city multi-cultural churches.

My own spiritual journey began as a student with me asking the big question, “Why am I here, what is life all about?” A clergyman’s sermons began to point me in a Christian direction. I discovered the clergyman by accident (well, I saw it as such). I was visiting, out of courtesy, the church at which my girlfriend’s (now wife) parents worshipped. His message intrigued me. A few months later, a visit to an Anglican renewal service in 1980 brought another accidental encounter. I was attending the service trying to clinch a sale on a life insurance policy; instead I was brought into a jaw-dropping encounter with God. I didn’t get the sale, but arguably I got something of far more value than a few pounds in the bank, and I have been exploring ever since.

Picture of my wife, Gill ThornileyHow do I keep fit?

I usually cycle in the morning before the roads get too busy. I used to run (but the knees complained) and I enjoy golf with chums. I also go on walking holidays with my son because, as he tells me, “that’s what we do.” We have done the Coast to Coast, the West Highland Way and the southern half of Offa’s Dyke.

My wife Gill, who is a gardener, allows me to mow the lawn, prune trees and harvest the fruit and vegetables.

What is my vision for the benefice?

Simply put – sharing the love of God within the church and community. We are churches that present the gospel in relevant and attractive ways to ourselves and the communities in which we live.

As a result we provide a variety of forms of worship on Sundays from monthly family services, Celtic inspired worship from the Iona community stable, Anglican Communion in both a modern and traditional style.