New Rector for Joint Benefice to be licenced

The Rev. Oliver Preston (pictured) will be licenced as the new Rector for the Church of England’s United Benefice of Haworth and Cross Roads in a service at Haworth Parish Church next Friday evening.

Oliver will step into the incumbency that has been vacant since the Rev. Peter Mullins retired in September 2022.

It will be the 35-year-old Oliver’s first Parish appointment and he moves into the Haworth and Cross Road parishes after serving as an Associate Minister (Pioneer) at Christ Church, Bridlington.

Oli Preston was born and grew up in Scarborough. He said: “I still love the coast but I’m looking forward to exploring and loving a new landscape here in the moors and valleys surrounding the Worth Valley.

He is married to Joanne, they have two children – Betty (9) and Cayden (5) and Oli added: “As a parent of young children I’m particularly interested in helping other young families to find a home in church.

“Sometimes church gatherings can be really stressful as a parent – often our children just aren’t designed to be still and quiet!”. 

One of Oli and Joanne’s projects in Bridlington was the establishment of a new church and community called ‘Branches: church in a garden’ that usually met outside, in more informal ways, usually with food.  

The new Rector of Haworth and Cross Roads loves to share good food, good company, and good beer.  He enjoys being part of the community and fun that can grow around live music as well as writing and performing poetry and music in an alternative /indie folk style.  

Growing up going to church, Oli first trained as a youth and community worker, before making a conscious decision to follow a ministry within the Church of England. He is inspired by the life and words of Jesus finding deep meaning and hope in his Christian faith.  This inspires him to care passionately about people, community and for creation. 

He is an activist for climate and ecological care, among other justice issues. He added: “The Bible word for peace is ‘shalom’ – it means wholeness and wellness in every part, and is also about our relationships: with ourselves, one another, the world around us, and with God. 

“Peace means right-ness and goodness in all these areas – that is what I long for and want to help people find.”

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