Clergy community volunteers

First published on: 3rd November 2023

Volunteering vicar takes on role with Beaver Scouts

A vicar has reached out into his community by taking on the role of Beaver Scout Leader.

The Revd Nigel Taylor, of St Mary’s Church, Monkseaton, now swaps his clerical collar for a neckerchief on Tuesday evenings.

He has become one of the leaders of the Beavers at 6th Whitley Bay, after stepping up to help out when new volunteer leaders were needed.

“The Scout leader asked me to do it,” said Nigel. “St Mary’s has a long-standing relationship with the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers here, so I was very happy to get involved. I have done the initial training and have really enjoyed it so far.”

A former Cub Scout himself, Nigel said he was keen to carry out a voluntary role with the Beavers, which is for children aged six to eight.

Nigel, who came to the North East from Worcester a year ago to become vicar at St Mary’s, added: “I’ve always enjoyed camps and other activities, and I have always wanted to support uniformed groups. As a vicar, it’s important that I get to know the community, so working with children, parents and other volunteers is a good way to do this.”

As Beaver leader, Nigel attends hour long sessions on Tuesday evenings, which are planned in advance. Therefore, his voluntary commitment extends to at least two hours per week. Nigel, who is a father-of-four and has two grandchildren, said his own sons were in the Boy’s Brigade.

He added: “We have an excellent troop here in Whitley Bay, which is very well led. I’m really excited and very pleased to be involved.”


Air cadets is a lot of fun for ‘padre’ with supporting role

A vicar is making the most of her role with air cadets in her local community.

Better known as ‘padre’ to the young members of 861 Wideopen Squadron, the Revd Dr Pauline Pearson is not there to fly, glide or take part in adventure training.

Instead, the vicar at St Columba’s Church, Wideopen, offers a supporting role to youngsters and is there for anyone who wants to talk.

“It’s a joy to be involved,” said Pauline. “They are a great bunch and are full of fun. The squadron is popular and some new recruits joined earlier this year.”

The squadron, which caters for youngsters aged 13-plus, has a long-standing association with St Columba’s and when Pauline was asked to get involved prior to the pandemic, she was only too pleased.

“I’m very passionate about making links with the community,” she said. “You have to reach out to people and I certainly enjoy being there to help and support.”

Pauline has given talks on various topics, from the impact of drone use on pilots and their families to raising awareness of the suffering experienced by Ukrainian refugees in the wake of the ongoing conflict with Russia.

She has also accompanied the cadets on big occasions, such as at Newcastle Cathedral for a Thanksgiving Service for the Coronation of King Charles III back in May.

An emerita professor in nursing, Pauline previously worked at Northumbria University. She was associate priest at St George’s and St Hilda’s, Jesmond, before moving to St Columba’s in 2019.


Police service is a childhood ambition for Newcastle vicar

A vicar in Newcastle Diocese has a voluntary role with Northumbria Police, serving as a special constable.

The Revd Mark Edwards, Team Vicar for the Benefice of Christ the King, has recently been presented with an award which recognises his work with the force.

Mark’s association with Northumbria Police has been quite a journey. He initially served as force chaplain from 2008 to 2012. Now he is realising a childhood ambition of serving as a police officer, as a voluntary member of the Blyth Neighbourhood Policing Team.

The award recognised Mark’s many hours of service, his outstanding composure and resilience while on duty, and his deep commitment to creating safer communities.

Mark has a long history of community work and in 2009 he was awarded the MBE for services to the voluntary sector. Since 2010, he has been a volunteer medic with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) as a first responder.

Last year, he was awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for his work with the NEAS -a decade after his was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal back in 2012.

Powered by Church Edit