Reverend Richard Ormston joined the Oundle parish as Vicar thirteen years ago, and since then has taken on the role of Rural Dean, overseeing 35 parishes. Over his years working here he has become a beloved member of the community, and so it was with great sadness that in September, members of the churches of St Peter’s, St Mary the Virgin Benefield and St Leonard Glapthorn, learnt that Reverend Ormston will be leaving in January to take on the position of Archdeacon Of Northampton.
Although he grew up within the hectic household of a vicar’s family, Reverend Ormston never thought that he would follow his father into the church. In his mid-twenties, however, after distancing himself from the church during his university years, he realised that the life would suit him perfectly. He made the decision to become ordained in Bristol at the age of 25 and has since spent 27 happy years in the church.
Since his arrival thirteen years ago, Rev Ormston has seen Oundle grow as a town and as a community, and although he would be the last to admit it, he has played a large role in bringing about these changes. He has dedicated much of his time to forging strong links between the church and the community through working with organisations such as the Abbott House Home and many of the local schools. He has also made strides in the relationship between the local youth and the church through the establishment of the West Porch Café on a Wednesday afternoon. His diligent work has opened up the church to the whole of the town, making it accessible for even those who do not attend regularly.
He says that most of all, he will miss the people of Oundle, many of whom he gotten to know well. “It takes me 40 minutes to get to the post office because everyone wants to chat,” he says.
He has had more than his fair share of memorable moments, his favourites being the numerous whole-town events, with the Christmas Eve carols a particularly special occasion. The event usually involves over 500 people from all the churches in Oundle gathering in the market place, followed by a multi-denominational crib service at the church with a real baby playing the part of the new born Jesus, as
The Reverend recounted the tale of one Christmas when he was greeted on his doorstep by a group of five teenage carol singers, who sang two carols in beautiful unison. When he asked what they were collecting for, they replied “nothing”. They had just come to sing carols in the spirit of Christmas. Reverend Ormston said that it “made my day”, and was one of the many happy memories he will take away from Oundle.
The Reverend will be missed by many members of the parish and especially those with whom he worked. Ali Coutts, who works in the church as the administrator, said on behalf of the church office: “Working with Richard Ormston is an energising experience! He is an out-there extrovert, bursting with energy and presence. He is joyful; he sings and whistles (a lot), he is unfazeable, always cheerful, and great at finding solutions. He puts life into perspective no matter what’s going on, he sees things from all sides, he’s a diplomat, he empowers people to do what makes them tick, he brings people together in unity and he gets us all to lighten up!”
Although he is sad to leave Oundle, he looks forward to beginning this new and exciting stage of his life. As Archdeacon of Northampton he will be kept busy, overseeing the mission and growth across the whole diocese, in addition to the usual jobs of an Archdeacon. Much to his delight, his new move and position happens to leave him with a free Saturday, giving him the time to support his favourite rugby team, the Northampton Saints.
By Anna Trafford