More about our new Vicar and his family

Leonard and Alison Browne

Revd Leonard Browne

“I was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne to a Catholic father and a Presbyterian mother, while my father worked for HM Customs in North Shields. At two years old I moved to just outside Belfast, and had a happy childhood amidst the backdrop of a not very pleasant environment. I went to church and was happily convinced that I was a Christian until at the age of 16 years, when I found myself doing a Religious Education ‘O’ Level in two free lessons with the Deputy Head, who was (and is) a lovely Christian man.

“On the topic of personal prayer, when he talked about giving God praise and confessing our sins and praying for others I suddenly realised that I did not pray like that – but wanted to.  I became a Christian, and through a great youth group and then a super Christian Union I grew as a Christian. During this time I won a full international vest in athletics for Northern Ireland, having been a school boy international for Ireland in both athletics and rugby; and I became a Cambridge Blue.

“It was while I was at Cambridge that my eyes and ears came across a wonderful young Christian woman called Alison who three years later became my wife. I changed from studying History, (and playing lots of sport) to studying Theology, (and playing lots of sport), and we got involved in a lively church. It was here that I first encountered the Renewal movement.

“On leaving University we moved to Bristol and we were both teachers before I left to join the staff of Christ Church Clifton where were both confirmed. After three years of doing all sorts of exciting teaching pastoring and evangelistic stuff, I trained for ordination and then spent three years in Reading as a curate of Greyfriars, a town centre church; followed by nine years as vicar of St Barnabas which became (following a fresh outpouring of the Spirit on us) a vibrant evangelical Charismatic Church in Cambridge. In this time we had our three children (and a dog!).

“We then moved to Cheltenham where I became Senior Chaplain and Head of Divinity at Dean Close School, and then Headmaster of the Prep School (and latterly Deputy CEO of Dean Close Schools). Just as importantly we joined the Trinity Church Cheltenham family, where I have preached regularly, and with Alison have led a small group and helped run ‘The Marriage Course’.

Browne Family March 2016“During my time I have written on sport and evangelism, and small groups; spoken and taught at various theological colleges and at conferences on the Holy Spirit, leadership and teamwork; been a regional New Wine Leader, a selector for ordination training, a school inspector and a mentor for younger Christian leaders.  I continue to love all sorts of sport – not least rugby – and enjoy supporting our three children, Kat – in financial recruitment in Cheltenham, and married to Stu, with Lola their first child; Pete – a professional rugby player with Ulster; and Becky – a Biology teacher in Gloucester), in any way we can.

“In the summer of 2014 I stepped down as Head and moved back to the Senior School as a Chaplain and RS teacher, became a grandfather, and for the first time in years we lived in our own home. Alison has also been a teacher, but for the last two years has concentrated on looking after her elderly parents and our first grandchild. That said, she has also headed up Trinity’s ministry to the elderly.

“We have sensed for a while that the Lord had something new for us, and we are very excited at the prospect of joining the community of St John’s, and look forward to being with you and journeying together.”

23rd Mar 2016 Posted in: Hidden Posts by Stella Jennings 0

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