Over the past few years, our staff team has grown and changed. We want to help you get to know the St Michael’s team! So, in the first of an occassional series, we put some questions to our new Associate Vicar, Tom Benyon.
What motivated you to come to St Michael’s?
Ever since training at Trinity College, Bristol we have felt called to the West Country and specifically Bristol, so when a friend of mine drew my attention to the post I was very interested. I had not visited St Michael’s before but had heard about it spoken of in lots of positive ways. Sara and I visited the 10.30am service ‘under the radar’ in Autumn 2018 and loved it, so it felt very natural to apply for the job. We really loved the vision of the church – to be a Christian heart at the centre of the community – and felt excited at the prospect of being in a church that is both committed to the transformation of its local area, but also with a vision to impact the wider community, Bristol and beyond.
What have been your first impressions?
The centre is obviously an amazing resource and there are clearly many things going on throughout the church, but what has struck us the most has been the warmth and kindness of everyone who has welcomed us. So, thank you for this. A lot of people have expressed just how much they love this church community- which to my mind is always a good sign!
What are you most looking forward to you in your ministry here?
I’m looking forward to working closely with the team, getting to know as many people as possible and generally getting ‘plugged in’. I am especially passionate about prayer and whole-life discipleship and how we can learn together to become more Christ-like. To that end, I’m particularly looking forward to working with life groups amongst other things.
What do you do to relax?
I love hanging out with the family, going on bike rides, watching sport (rugby, tennis, football) and reading novels to my boys. Sara and I love going to see live music and theatre when we can. I’m a bit of an introvert and I like nothing better than hiking across countryside with Lottie the dog for company.
I hear you have a bit of an am-drammer in you! What’s your favourite part that you’ve played?
Believe it or not I played King Lear at university – it took me ages to learn the lines. It was a pretty earnest, student production (I was 19 trying to play an 80-year-old!) but I think we did okay. More recently I have been directing plays rather than acting in them. I was especially proud of a Romeo and Juliet set on a housing estate and a production of Death of a Salesman, with Richard (Dickie) Attenborough’s grandson in the lead role. I have missed the drama side of things since moving into ordained ministry – perhaps new opportunities in Bristol may emerge.
What’s your favourite bible verse or story, and why?
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit’. Romans 15:13
I love the exuberance of this prayer from Paul, with its focus on hope and trust in God. I want to ‘overflow with hope’!
And lastly – important information for anyone in church- what’s your favourite cake?
As someone who loves cake but now is ‘gluten-free’ that is a painful question! Quite a number of gluten-free cake options may taste okay but they have the consistency of wet sand. That said, Sara’s chocolate and coconut torte is just about perfect.