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Introducing Announce Our New Assistant Priest

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

We are delighted to be able to announce the arrival of The Revd Chris Smaling as our assistant priest at St. Giles. Chris brings a depth of experience and wisdom as a priest and educator and will be a huge asset to the parish as we seek to advance the reach of the gospel in this diverse corner of central London. The Bishop of London is coming to St. Giles on Sunday the 12th of December for the 11:00am Holy Communion service and will officially licence Chris to the parish. It would be good to see as many of you there as possible to give Chris a warm St. Giles welcome, refreshments will follow the service.

The Revd Chris writes:

I started going to church, somewhat unusually, in my teens. A time when many young people are exploring other things to do with their Sunday mornings. A neighbour invited me to join the amateur dramatics society at the church, I enjoyed singing. So it was through music and invitation that I first came to faith. When I left my hometown of Mirfield for university in Bath, musical theatre continued and I spent some time singing with the church choir. After my degree I worked as chaplain’s assistant for a year, first exploring my call to priesthood at this time.

Instead of theology training I came to London to complete a teacher training course. I’ve been teaching ever since and really enjoy my work. I moved from mainstream education to special needs and am now lucky enough to be the deputy headteacher of Richard Cloudesley School in Islington.

When I first moved to London I never really found another church to call home, that was until I bumped into the local vicar on my way to choir practice.“Come and sing with us on Sunday” she said and the rest, as they say, is history. I think God often meets us through other people and that often people come to church through an invitation from another.

I trained for ordination part-time while working and was ordained deacon in 2014. I have spent the last seven years with the people of St Gabriel’s church, Aldersbrook, in the diocese of Chelmsford.

Lots of things have changed over the years but I still enjoy singing and theatre so a move into the west end feels right. I’m intrigued that God has called me here for the next phase of my ministry and excited at the prospect of staring a new journey amongst the people of St Giles-in-the-Fields.

I knew God was calling me to new challenge and change and that is certainly present, for me, at St Giles. Worship rooted in the tradition of the prayer book will be a change for me but I sense that being grounded in the expression of faith gives St Giles the security to be an open, welcoming and inclusive church. That’s a community to which I feel called. I am really looking forward to getting to know the people of St Giles and discovering, with them, how God is calling us to be community in and Christ to the people of the parish in such a lively and vibrant part of our wonderful city.

The Rector writes:

Chris comes to St. Giles at a time when the national church is still licking its wounds in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. His ministry amongst us is a generous gift of time and talent and perhaps above all a sign of hope for recovery. I look forward to working with Chris in seeking to strengthen, deepen and broaden the place and reach of the church in this fast moving and diverse corner of London. He is an advent blessing!

This Sunday 28th November we look forward to our Candlelit Advent Carol Service at 6.30pm. Do invite your friends, it is going to be a moving way to begin the season. Don’t forget that there are fireside refreshments at The Rectory following the service! To continue the theme of Advent there will be a service of Candlelit Compline in church on the 1st ,8th ,14th & 21st of December. All are welcome.

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