11 April 2021 – We are absolutely delighted to announce the appointment of the Rev’d Pouya Heidari as our new Rector.   Pouya and his family will be moving to Fetcham at the beginning of May with plans for his service of installation to take place later that month.   We thank God that everything is happening so quickly.

Pouya was born in Iran in a Muslim family and his journey from a professional footballer to ordination as a priest in the Church of England is as fascinating as it is amazing.  

The transformational moment that turned Pouya’s life round was meeting our Lord Jesus.   Ordination, rather than professional football, was to be Pouya’s path.

Pouya has a wealth of experience and his life anything but dull.  From being a Humanitarian Aid Worker in Tehran, working alongside undercover missionaries smuggling and distributing Bibles and Christian resources, planting underground churches, being arrested at gunpoint by the intelligence police and subsequently seeking asylum.   Then being a Mission Worker in Brazil and Mission and Ministry Consultant at Elam Ministries across West Yorkshire and the North East and then training for ordination at Cranmer Hall.

Pouya has been serving his curacy at St Gabriel’s Church in Sunderland where he and his wife Debora have been particularly involved in youth work.   Pouya has been leading the church there during their vacancy.

Pouya felt a strong calling to Fetcham when he read our parish profile and has been joining our online services since January.   Our advert elicited a huge response from excellent applicants.   At interview, Pouya was the outstanding candidate and the unanimous choice of all five of the interview panel.  

Pouya brings with him energy, enthusiasm and a wealth of stories from his experiences, along with his wife Debora (Debo) and their two gorgeous sons, Liam who is nearly 3 and Alex aged 9 months.   He values the wide variety of Anglican worship styles from BCP to informal contemporary settings.   And he hasn’t forgotten his love for football, founding the CoE men’s and women’s national football teams and being captain of the men’s team.  

Pouya can’t wait to join us – and we can’t either!  

25 Mar 2021 – We were privileged and blessed to have an amazing response to our advert, resulting in five outstanding candidates being shortlisted and interviewed earlier this week.  We will make an announcement as to the identity of our new Rector as soon as possible.  Please pray for all the candidates who applied, for the interview team and for the person God has called to come to Fetcham.

19 Mar 2021 – The closing date for applications has passed.  Please pray for Bishop Jo, the Archdeacon, the Area Dean and our parish reps who will be conducting the interviews for our new Rector on Tuesday, 23rd March and for all the candidates.

31 Jan 2020 – If you are interested in learning more about our vacancy, to see the job description and how to apply go to the Church Times.  Closing date for applications: 5th March 2021   Interviews: Tuesday 23rd March 2021

16 Dec 2020 – We’re delighted to be able to make our Parish Profile available which you can access here.

We are very grateful to the team who wrote the Profile and to members of the NRWG and PCC for their helpful and constructive comments and input.   Huge thanks to Kowoon Bacon who brought it to life with her expertise as a graphic designer.   We are very fortunate and thank God for having such talent in house.
If you’re reading the Profile as a prospective candidate, please do not apply until the post is formally advertised in the New Year.

11 Dec 2020 – Our PCC met with Alan Jenkins, our Area Dean, on Thursday evening at the Section 11 meeting and unanimously approved the Parish Profile which we will share with you as soon as possible.  Our next step is to seek permission from the Bishop to advertise.  The PCC also discussed nominations for our two Parish Reps; Wendy Roberts and Andy Black were appointed by unanimous decision.  They will both support the recruitment process including attending the shortlisting meeting and interviews.

4 Dec 2020 – We’re on track!  The PCC met on Wednesday evening and basically agreed our Parish Profile and advert, subject to minor tweaks.  The Section 11 meeting is next Thursday 10 December, when the PCC meets with our Archdeacon and Rural Dean to officially adopt the Profile and advert, agree when and where to post the advert, etc.  We are hugely grateful to the team who have produced an excellent profile, for everybody’s input and comments and especially to wonderful Kowoon who has transformed a lot of words into an exceptional document.  Do please pray for our Wardens, PCC and everybody working hard in the vacancy, for the meeting on Thursday and, above all, for the person God is calling and preparing to come to Fetcham.


Sunday 18 October was a sad day as it was Andrew and Jenny Smith’s last Sunday at St Mary’s.   So, we are now in an Interregnum (between reigns!), which is a posh word for saying we’re in a vacancy, or without a Rector.

When the Smiths announced they were leaving, our New Rector Working Group was formed from people across the church family representing different ages, preferred worship style, groups, etc. etc.  The NRWG is led by Andy Black, one of our Wardens, with Chris Bacon, Emily Bennett, Corinne Braid, Jacky Breadmore, Pam Egles, Richard Furze, Nathan Ghinn, Julie Partridge and Wendy Roberts.

We then had some very helpful meetings with Andrew and Jenny, the Ven Martin Breadmore, our Archdeacon and the Rev David Senior, Diocesan Mission Enabler, who explained the process we were entering – searching for and recruiting our new Rector, in which the production of our Parish Profile and Statement and Needs is absolutely key.   Andy Black and Brigitte Furze, our Wardens, are in close contact with our Rural Dean, Alan Jenkins, and Martin Breadmore who are available to help, answer questions, etc, to ensure everything runs smoothly in the vacancy.

Where have we got to? The NRWG have been receiving input from the church family as to what they love about St Mary’s and what sort of person they would like to see lead us into the future. Richard Furze, Julie Partridge and Corinne Braid have been busy writing the Parish Profile and producing drafts, incorporating comments from members of the PCC and Alan Jenkins, while Kowoon Bacon is leading the team designing the profile.   It’s all systems go!

There’s a really helpful document from the New Rector Working Group update which you can access here,  which amongst other things, sets out our timeline.

We’ll keep everybody updated on progress, so do check back to see how we’re getting on.

In the meantime, if you have any photos of groups and / or activities at St Mary’s (with permission, of course, especially if there are children involved), or have a short quote about what you love about St Mary’s, please forward to Karen, our Administrator or to for inclusion in the profile.   We look forward to hearing from you.