New appointment for Abergavenny and Govilon
A Yorkshire man who considers himself an ‘honorary Welshman’ has been appointed as the next Vicar of Abergavenny and Ministry Area Leader for Abergavenny and Govilon.
Fr John Connell is already a familiar face around the diocese having lived for almost 20 years in Wales, serving as a curate in Caldicot, then as vicar of Llantilio Pertholey with Bettws Chapel and Llanddewi Skirrid and ministering in St Augustine’s, Rumney for the last 6 years.
The Right Reverend Cherry Vann, Bishop of Monmouth says: “After interviewing four people for this significant post, it was clear that Fr John is the right person to take forward the mission and ministry of the church communities in Abergavenny and Govilon.
“Having been an Area Dean, as well as Ministry Area Leader, John brings considerable gifts and experience to this post. He has the wisdom and vision to be able to bring the churches of this new Ministry Area together and lead them with faithfulness and compassion.”
Fr John says that he has enjoyed every single minute of his time at St Augustine’s and that he will be sad to leave such a welcoming and truly inclusive church family, however, he is delighted to have been appointed to serve in the Abergavenny and Govilon parishes and looks forward to returning to live in Abergavenny once again.
He says: “The challenges all our churches and communities face as we continue to journey through the current pandemic are many, but I look forward to sharing in God’s mission by worshipping and working alongside all people of faith and good will in the town. If you meet me, please do say ‘Hello’ and introduce yourself, even if you are wearing a mask and I may not recognise you next time!”
Fr John serves the Diocese as Area Dean of Bassaleg, is a member of several committees and acts as Bishop Cherry’s Deliverance Ministry Officer. In the wider Province, Fr John is an elected clerical member of Governing Body, the Electoral College and Provincial Standing Committee. As a keen and experienced liturgist, he serves on the Province’s Liturgical Committee and helps to create new liturgical resources for use across the Church in Wales.
Describing himself as a ‘mission priest’, Fr John has a passion for sharing the good news of God’s unconditional love for all, for growing disciples and enabling churches to grow and flourish. Whilst having been nurtured in the catholic tradition of the Church of England and the Church in Wales, Fr John values the unique, richness of the breadth of Anglican tradition.
Fr John is proud of his Yorkshire roots in the famous ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in God’s own county, but, having lived for almost twenty years of his life in God’s own country of Wales he considers himself an honorary Welshman!
After ordination he served as curate of Caldicot, then Risca. He is no stranger to Abergavenny as his first post as an incumbent was as Vicar of Llantilio Pertholey with Bettws Chapel and Llanddewi Skirrid. Here Fr John worked closely with Llantilio Pertholey Church in Wales Primary both as a parish priest and as a school governor and his children fondly remember their time as pupils there and at King Henry VIII School.
A move back to the Church of England followed when Fr John was appointed Priest-in-Charge of St Paul’s, Wokingham with St Nicholas, Emmbrook. During his time at St Paul’s, Fr John also worked as Chaplain to Bishop of Reading, the present Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell. After a short break from parish ministry, working as a hospital chaplain at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, Fr John moved to the Diocese of Chelmsford when he became Rector of Chingford.
In 2015, Fr John returned ‘home’ to Wales when he was appointed Priest-in-Charge of St Augustine’s, Rumney, where he has ministered for the last six years.
Fr John has two children, Adam, who is married to Rachel, and lives in London, and Charlotte who lives in Newport with her partner Josh. He has been happily and civilly partnered to Claudio, his partner of ten years, since 2015. Fr John and Claudio will be joined at The Vicarage by Bryn, the family’s 11-year-old chocolate Labrador, who really belongs to Charlotte! In his spare time Fr John enjoys holidays in Madeira, Claudio’s home, a broad range of classical music, cooking and entertaining for family and friends and enjoying the beautiful countryside of Monmouthshire.