Fr Paul Newman – coming home to Our Lady’s Eastwood!

I was born in the front bedroom of a tiny cottage in Kimberley Nottingham on the feast of St. George 1965.

As a child I attended The Priory School, Eastwood before going on to my secondary education at St. John Houghton school Ilkeston. I completed my school education at St. Hugh’s college Tollerton where I studied art, English literature and religious studies at A level.

At the age of 18, the diocese of Nottingham accepted me as a student for the priesthood and my six years training was at St. Mary’s college, Oscott in Birmingham. I was ordained for the diocese on 20th July 1989 at Mount St. Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire.

I have very much enjoyed 32 years of ministry. Having had the privilege of my first five years as an assistant priest at St. Joseph’s in Derby, in January of 1995 I was appointed parish priest of St. Joseph’s, Matlock and St. Teresa’s wirksworth. In January 2000 Bishop McGuiness asked me to be Dean of Amber Valley and to look after the people of St. Joseph’s Ripley together with Our Lady’s Belper and St Margaret’s Duffield. Just one year into my ministry there, Bishop McGuiness retired, and the new bishop, Malcolm McMahon asked me to work full time as youth officer for the diocese and to be director of The Briars Youth Centre at Crich. I moved to The Briars on 11th September 2001 and enjoyed five very happy years in that very specific ministry, working with young people and young adults across the diocese and beyond. In January 2007, after a sabbatical, I took up my new appointment at Our Lady’s Bulwell and The Infant of Prague church Bestwood. Four years later, on 2nd February 2011, I moved to St. Albans Derby, with responsibility for not only St. Alban’s in chaddesden but The Church on Oakwood and St. Hugh’s at Borrowash. I was asked to be Episcopal Vicar for laity in the diocese and to be an advisor to the Bishop on his council and a member of the college of consultors for the diocese. This is a responsibility I still have today. For a short period of 18 months I was appointed as Chaplain to the Sick and retired priests of the diocese and then in 2017 I was the bishop asked me to go to Our Lady and St. Edwards Nottingham, as parish priest and undertake a new diocesan job – Director for vocations in our diocese.

This role is now almost complete and in September 2020, following the sad death of Canon John Berry, Bishop Patrick asked me to move to Eastwood as parish priest of Our Lady of Good Counsel and as chaplain to the diocesan youth centre based at Crich near Matlock.

And here I am! Back home in the parish I grew up in and in the church where I was baptised, the church in which my mum and dad were married, and where as a family, we celebrated my mum’s funeral. This is my spiritual home with my kind of people! A community that for me, growing up, had a huge influence in my faith journey, a place where I grew to feel and sense the presence of Jesus’ love at work. How privileged I am to be here, working alongside some of the great people I grew up with and having this wonderful responsibility of helping everyone in this parish to know God’s love in their lives. I hope I can do that for you. I am delighted to be here, to minister to you as best I can. This is a special time in my ministry as a priest. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

God bless

Fr Paul.