Hello to all members of the Greenhithe and Swanscombe Community
I am Revd Charlie Lloyd-Evans, and I am so pleased that I am to be appointed as the new Priest in Charge of the Parishes of Greenhithe and Swanscombe. I thought you may like to know a little about me before I arrive on your doorstep later this year. My husband, Gareth, and I have been married for 25 years. We met at the University of Bristol where we were both studying Aeronautical Engineering. Gareth went on from there to a career in the Royal Air Force, and I had a career in Engineering, firstly for GEC Alsthom, working on steam turbine design, and then for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, with a specialism in air-breathing missiles. I stepped back from a full-time career when our third child was born, in order to focus more time on the family. We have three daughters, Chloe who is 23 and working as an Enterprise Graduate for Marks and Spencer in London, Heather who is 21 and just about to start her final year at the University of York, studying Physics, and Megan who is about to start her second year at the University of Exeter ,studying History. They are all looking forward to having Mum and Dad back in the UK full-time and I am sure you will see plenty of them in the coming months and years.
As our children were growing up I explored a few different work options, including running my own business for several years, but finally responded to the calling to ministry when I started to train as a Lay Reader in the Diocese of Lichfield in 2009. I was first licenced as a Lay Reader in 2011, and then discovered a lot about God’s sense of humour. The same week as I was licenced Gareth, who had just completed his time in the Royal Air Force, went for a job interview with Emirates Airlines in the United Arab Emirates, and a few weeks later we knew that we that we were moving to Dubai. If God had told me early on in my Lay Reader training that I would be exercising that ministry in an Islamic country I am not sure I would have been so keen to follow his calling, but then he always knows what he is doing better than us. Within just over a year of being in the UAE I was working with a team to set up a church plant, and starting to feel serious nudging from the Lord about ordained ministry. I eventually listened to him and, following a selection conference in 2014, began training as an ordinand. It has been an amazing and unexpected privilege to be able to follow this calling and training pathway whilst living in an Islamic country. I was ordained to the Diaconate in 2017, and as a Priest in 2018. Since my ordination in 2017 I have been serving the chaplaincy of Abu Dhabi, with specific responsibility for the congregation of St Thomas Anglican Church in Al Ain. I served as an Assistant Curate for two years, and then for the last year as Associate Priest.
The Anglican Church in the UAE serves a very diverse ethnic and cultural community. As a church it aims to provides a home and a welcome for all who ‘seek to touch the hem of the Christian garment’. I see one of the greatest strengths of the Anglican Church as being its breadth of inclusivity, and have seen this lived out in the most amazing ways in this place. The Christian Church in the UAE is blessed with great levels of religious freedom, as compared to some other Gulf states. However, one of the biggest challenges has been issues around social justice, and the plight of low income migrant workers to the region. I have been involved with international organisations in tackling this issue, including the Anglican Alliance and Mission to Seafarers, as well as working locally with migrant communities within Al Ain to provide help and relief, especially through the recent Pandemic.
My husband and I are very much looking forward to becoming part of your community and seeing what plans God has in place for our ongoing mission and ministry together. Please hold us in your prayers as we deal with the complexities of relocating back to the UK, and we look forward to meeting you all later in the year.