Revd. Dr. Robert Stephen
Bob originates from the fishing town of Fraserburgh on the extreme North East coast of Scotland. As a teenager Bob’s experience of Church broadened from the Independent Evangelical Church supported by one side of the family and the Baptist Church supported by the other in which he was nurtured in faith when he was appointed as organist and choirmaster at Fraserburgh Old Parish Church. It was a beginning of a passionate commitment to parish ministry and when a love of liturgical worship was born. Bob changed his direction from wanting to study music to following a sense of call to ministry and so, in 1982, travelled to London to begin studies at the London Bible College.
In 1985 Bob was ordained into the ministry of the Baptist Church and began work as an Assistant Minister to the Revd Humphrey Vellacott at Vernon Baptist Church, Kings Cross. After 18 months Bob was sent from there to plant the Stoke Newington Baptist Church, eventually heading up a small group of Church plants from that mother Church and leading a ministry team of 7. In 1993 Bob moved to the Midlands and served Hinckley Baptist Church for 4 years.
In 1997 Bob ‘converted’ to Anglicanism and was licensed as a Reader in 1999 and was made Deacon in 2004 and ordained Priest in 2005. He served his title, subsequently becoming Associate Rector (NSM), under the Revd Canon David Jennings, in the Parish of Burbage with Aston Flamville. From 1999 Bob has worked as a Teacher, initially at Our Lady and Pope John Roman Catholic High School in Corby and then at King Henry VIII School in Coventry where he was appointed the first Chaplain since its foundation in 1545.
Bob has continued to try to keep his brain alive with studies in the Sociology of Religion and still attempts to play the organ. He is an enthusiastic cook and has a missionary zeal for Malt Whisky.
Bob is married to Penny (who is Managing Director of her own Skin Care company) and they have a grown-up family of 8 children, with 8 grandchildren. Dibley (the Labrador) has become a very important member of the family and loved by the Parish community.
Watch the video of the induction of Rev. Dr. Robert Stephen
and the church which has been placed in his care.
Shane Taylor – Church Warden
I grew up in South Africa, an Anglican by choice, as my parents were both agnostics. I worshipped for almost 30 years at St Martin’s in the Fields in a village called Irene, just outside Pretoria. I was a licensed worship leader and very involved in parish activities.
I came to live in Handsworth Wood in 2004, having been lured by an Englishmen, George Taylor. We are a “two – horse couple “- George is a long standing member of Elmwood, the local URC whilst I am a committed Anglican. In order to accommodate both churches we decided that each Sunday we would attend The Church of the Epiphany in Cherry Orchard Road for the 9.00 am communion and then walk up to Elmwood for their 11.00 am service. This routine has continued for over 10 years.
Meanwhile, I have been appointed warden for Epiphany and, together with my fellow warden, David Holmes, am responsible for the day to day maintenance and finances of this special little church – the daughter church to St Mary’s.
David Holmes – Church Warden
I have lived in Handsworth Wood for about forty five years, but only started worshipping regularly at the Church of the Epiphany about twenty years ago. At that time the congregation numbered about twenty five and were such friendly and welcoming people that I soon felt quite at home.
Not long after this one of the serving Church Wardens retired and my arm was gently twisted with the suggestion that I fill the breech. Then Shane Taylor and her husband George arrived on the scene. Soon afterwards she was appointed second warden. We immediately hit it off and have worked very happily together ever since.
My most important duty is that of a sacristan, but I also put my hands to doing a variety of small maintenance jobs, like keeping the entrance drive in good order and running repairs.
I am also one of the regular bell ringers at St Mary’s, but my main hobby is the building of model Thames barges, which are steadily encroaching on the living space in my home.