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Catherine Relf-PenningtonVicar

Wymondham Abbey appoints first female vicar 

Following the retirement in September of Revd Canon Christopher Davies, Wymondham Abbey has announced that Catherine Relf-Pennington is to be the next vicar of Wymondham.

Catherine will be the 60th vicar of the church, which was founded in 1107. She is also the Abbey’s first woman vicar.

Catherine was born in Australia, raised in Hong Kong and attended school there and later went to university in the UK.  Before becoming a priest Catherine was a research scientist in the field of Artificial Intelligence. “It’s a skill I’m still looking to put to use in the church!”, she joked. She was appointed to the role of Associate Vicar at Wymondham Abbey in 2013.

Catherine said “the role of vicar of any church is an important and demanding post. In a parish the size of Wymondham that is particularly true. The heart of the job is loving and serving the people of Wymondham and Spooner Row, whether they come to church or not.  There is a great team at the Abbey and a wonderful church family. It is a great blessing and huge honour to have been appointed to this historic church and serve this community.”

“We are delighted with the appointment”, said head Churchwarden Bernard Douglass. “Although Catherine has been working at the church for over three years, she had to go through a full selection process, and she was clearly an outstanding candidate. We look forward to working closely with her as we embrace the challenging times ahead.” 

The Bishop of Thetford, the Right Reverend Alan Winton was part of the selection panel. “Catherine is a first rate priest, and we were impressed with her obvious capabilities and vision for the parish,” he said.

Catherine will start her new job immediately, and will be formally ‘collated’ into the post in due course in a special ceremony at the church.

Pictured: Rev Catherine Relf-Pennington by Wymondham Market Cross.

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