“YOU wait ages for a vicar then two come along at once." That was the reaction to the arrival of a husband and wife team who who will share the job as vicar at their local church in a Hampshire village.
The Rev Mike Terry and his wife, the Rev Nicky-Sue Terry, are to jointly take over the role at St Mary’s Church in Warsash from today.
Although it is fairly common to have married couples who are both clergy in the Church of England and work at different churches, the Portsmouth Diocese said it is rare for them to share a job.
The couple will be installed by the Bishop of Portsmouth, Christopher Foster, at a service tonight.
Family are coming from all over the world to witness the moment alongside the Mayor of Fareham, David Norris.
Mike and Nicky-Sue have been married for five years and met while training for ordination in Cambridge.
Since their marriage they have lived in Fareham, where Mike, a former Commander in the Royal Navy, moved when he got a job at nearby HMS Sultan.
Nicky-Sue, 52, used to work for the Christian publishing and teaching charity CWR.
They were ordained together in Portsmouth Cathedral later that same year and went on to work as curates – Mike at St John’s Church, in Fareham, and Nicky-Sue at St Mary’s Church, in Gosport.
But the couple have been working together at St Mary’s Church after they were invited by the Bishop of Portsmouth on a temporary basis last September.
So when the post, which has been without a permanent priest since May last year, was advertised they decided to jointly apply.
“We just felt we were called,” said Mike, 52.
“We both fitted here with our different skills and gifts and felt we both seemed to have something to contribute on an equal basis.”
Nicky-Sue said: “We’ve fallen in love all over again, this time with the spiritual treasure of St Mary’s and the wonderful gem that is Warsash village.
“We’re really looking forward to getting to know this area much better, and the people who live here.
“We will be able to bring much more to this role than either one of us could individually.”
The couple hope to continue work with Christian charities alongside their duties.
Mike said: “Although married clergy couples are no longer so unusual in the Church of England, what makes our post different is that we will be sharing the responsibilities equally. It’s a kind of job-share for God!”
The service takes place at 7.30pm.