The guest at our breakfast
this month was Canon Ben Preece Smith, the Gloucester Diocesan Secretary. After a Full English Breakfast he told us that his childhood was influenced by family involvement in the church, politics, and social activities.
Despite having Protest parents, he was sent to a Roman Catholic School where he noticed that the laity - ordinary members of the congregation - had little involvement, leaving it all to the priest, and this would affect his later choices in life. (Return to top)
Being good with numbers he lodged in Baptist accommodation in Bristol whilst he qualified as an accountant and went to live in Fairford, South Gloucestershire. He first job was with one of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms. Whilst the pay was good he felt something was lacking so went to work for Christian Aid, where he could give something back to the community, and this enlarged his outlook to involve the 'global' church. (Return to top)
When his first child was born, he realised that commuting to London took up much of the day and he would miss his daughter's childhood so took a job as Director of Finance for Gloucester Diocese, from where he later moved to become Diocesan Secretary. In that role he's responsible for overseeing much of the diocesan activities, staff and departments, with specific responsibility for come activities, which he described. (Return to top)
His past circumstances and interest in the global church, together with his current Diocesan responsibilities, has brought his interest in the wider church to the fore and he described something of a vision for the church of the future, with less focus on church buildings, used for not much more than an hour on a Sunday morning, to his experience and vision for more community-based church run by Christian laity taking their Christian ideals into the local community. (Return to top)