Fr Bruce Batstone
Fr Bruce has been Rector of Hornsey since December 2011, moving from St Pancras and Camden Town where he was one of the priests in the Old St Pancras Team for eight years. As well as serving in the London diocese, Fr Bruce was a curate in the diocese of Chelmsford, having previously been a secondary school teacher. He is the Adviser for Spiritual Formation in the Edmonton Episcopal Area and a tutor on the London Ignatian Spirituality course.
Following his now not so recent appointment to Hornsey Parish Church in December 2011, Father Bruce has had a chance to draw breath and tell us a little more about himself…
What did you do before you were ordained, and why did you want to become a Priest?
I became a priest because I felt called by God to this life, and a call from God doesn’t go away. I was ordained in 2000, after four years as a secondary school teacher, and some time as a Franciscan friar. In the past I’ve also worked for Sainsbury’s, been a butcher’s boy, a cleaner, a gardener and a SAGA courier.
Who is your favourite character in the bible and why?
I like John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, who tried to balance a life of prayer and action, just like Jesus himself. I am also very fond of the Old Testament, and a great fan of Abraham.
What’s your signature dish?
Smoked mackerel and stilton pate; or home made oven chips, with roast chicken and home made coleslaw.
What first attracted you to Hornsey Parish Church?
Hornsey parish Church is full of energy and life, lots of people wanting to grow and develop as disciples of Christ. Also, it is a church where the parish priest is very much part of a team, and I really like that. All this is deeply rooted in a contemplative life of faith which is at the heart of our church. Who wouldn’t be attracted!
What are your priorities for the Church in the months ahead?
As always, the priority of the church is to transmit the fact that God loves us just as we are, and wants us to respond to that love. Also, a priority is to try and live out our strap line: God’s presence in a diverse community, welcoming everyone! All this needs a steady and regular flow of cash, and a priority is that we need to be better at articulating and teaching this.
What do you most and least enjoy about working in the Church?
Most, I love being part of a worshipping community, living in the place and being part of the lives of others. Least, being obedient in representing and defending a church so often portrayed negatively, and unfairly, in the media.
What is your favourite time of the Church calendar year and why?
I love Advent, because it is such a beautiful time of the year liturgically. Also Easter I love, when the church is filled with flowers, symbols of joy and life. Holy Week and Easter is central to the Christian faith.
Did you give up/take on anything for Lent?
I took on reading a Lent book which had a very short chapter for each day. It inspired several sermons.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
I went to the US a couple of years ago, visiting New York, Boston and San Francisco. I would love to go back there. I also like Spain and the Isle of Wight.
What has surprised you in your first 5 months in this parish?
Pleasantly surprised at how much I like Hornsey and the people here. Less pleasant, surprised at how steep some of the hills are!
What do you do to relax?
To relax I like to eat good food, drink red wine (and white too), and be with my family and friends; I enjoy reading novels, and walking with my dog Peggy Woolly; I enjoy getting away sometimes, and a favourite destination is East Anglia.