Press release new ‘Vicar’

Press release from the Parish of Whaley Bridge

WHALEY Bridge is waiting to welcome its new ‘vicar’, the Rev Cheri Pinner, who has flown half way round the world from New Zealand to take up the post of priest in charge of the Church of England parish.

Cheri, will be licensed by the Bishop of Chester in Trinity Church, Buxton at 7.30pm next  Monday, 15 March. All are invited to the service, which will be followed by refreshments and a chance to meet Cheri.

Cheri, who is 71, is American.  It was formalities over a work permit which delayed her arrival here, although the announcement she had been offered the parish was first made three months ago.

The parish, which also includes St James at Taxal, has been without a priest for a year.  It had been hoped to have the licensing service in the very old St James, with the celebration refreshments in Trinity Church.  But a major problem with the heating at St James meant a switch to the larger church of Trinity.

Below are some personal notes about Cheri and her British husband John, who is also ordained and will take services at Whaley Bridge.


JOHN AND I  met in Kenya, a blessed British-American Alliance. He was head of Kericho Secondary School for Boys and I went on a joint British American programme called Teachers for East Africa. John is from Kent and I from West Virginia.  We married a year later and two of our three children were born there.

In 1969 we returned to the UK where John studied theology at Westcott House in Cambridge.  He did his curacy at Great St. Mary’s, Dover, where our third child was born.

In 1974 John went as chaplain to Felsted School in Essex.  Two years later,  I became religious education adviser for the diocese of Chelmsford.

In 1981 we came as a family to New Zealand where John took the position of chaplain at Rathkeale College near Masterton.  I did some teaching,  both primary and secondary.  I also served on the education committee of the Wellington Diocese and helped locally with women’s worship and bicultural development within the local churches.  I became involved with the programme, Education for Ministry,  acting as mentor and then a national trainer of mentors.

When Rathkeale received its first overseas students, I was asked to help look after them and gradually developed an English language-learning programme for them.

In 1996, I accepted the post of English language specialist at Yew Chung International School in Beijing.  John remained at Rathkeale but came to Beijing 12 times during my four years there.  He managed to keep his work fresh at Rathkeale for over 21 years by developing different courses.  He especially enjoyed teaching history, classical studies and religious and liberal studies.

When I returned to New Zealand from China,  I became involved in St. Luke’s parish at Greytown in the diocese of Wellington and did extensive study for Licensed Lay Ministry.  When John retired from Rathkeale he accepted to be priest in charge of the parish and I assisted him. 

These were powerful years of spiritual growth.  Gradually it became clear that I should seek ordination.  When I did enter the process I was made deacon and priest within 18 months.  I now realise that this call has been with me since childhood but either because it was not possible or later because I ignored it and the invitation remained unanswered.  But then, I do know that God’s time is perfect.

I can be described as contemplative, scriptural, liturgical with a middle of the road churchmanship. 

We like singing and John hopes to find a singing group in the Whaley Bridge area that could use his tenor voice.  I enjoy quilt-making and cross stitch from time to time and have done fiction writing for children and adults with a few publications.  Parish work has precluded writing during the last few years.

Together John and I enjoy attending opera and theatre.  John likes taking part in amateur dramatics when time allows.  We chill out by reading or watching DVDs, especially cosy murder mysteries or period productions.

We are very excited about our move to Whaley Bridge  and are looking forward to working alongside the welcoming people there.


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