The High Sheriff's Chaplain

The Venerable Richard Ormston

Archdeacon of Northampton

Chair of the Peterborough Diocesan Board of Education

High Sheriffs may appoint a Chaplain to attend on them and assist on matters of faith. The Chaplain will principally be involved with the church services for the judiciary that are arranged by the High Sheriff conventionally annually but may also participate in the High Sheriff’s year on other occasions, for example the Declaration Ceremony that follows the High Sheriff’s appointment by the Monarch. The Chaplain may also play a valuable role as adviser to the High Sheriff on inter-faith matters in the community.

Richard has been in ministry for 34 years, having been ordained at the age of 25. He served a four year curacy in Swindon from 1987 to 1991 – living and working in a large post-war council estate. The parish was full of ministry opportunities and Richard would generally take up to 60 weddings a year on top of the usual array of missional and community challenges. He married Jackie in 1988 and Tom was born in 1990.

At the end of the curacy, they moved to Northamptonshire, as Richard became the Rector of Collingtree with Courteenhall and Milton Malsor, just south of Northampton. Jo was born in 1992 and Richard was Rector of these parishes for ten years, also serving as Rural Dean of Wootton for five years. These years were marked by a focus on working with pre-schools and schools, building up the congregations, providing pastoral support (especially to the elderly), deepening faith and bringing the separate communities closer together.

In 2001, Richard became the Vicar of Oundle with Ashton and Benefield with Glapthorn. In 2003 he was made an Honorary Canon of Peterborough Cathedral and Rural Dean of Oundle the same year. Richard served for ten years as Rural Dean and thirteen years as Vicar of these parishes. Due to a successful reordering a few years previously, Oundle church was a focus for the town and a 24/7 ministry began to evolve. The church became so much more than a once a week venue. Living in a house in the town centre that had been the vicarage since 1481 was never dull.

Then at the beginning of 2014, Richard was made Archdeacon of Northampton – a role that has been in existence since 1092. In this role he has oversight of 188 parishes in the southern half of the Diocese. The Archdeacon is one of the Bishop’s senior leaders and the role is extremely varied. It includes: the provision of ongoing support for Rural Deans and deaneries; the recruitment, appointment, support and review of clergy; aspects of curate training; the admission and support of churchwardens; working with parishes to ensure church buildings are fit for mission in their context; diocesan finance (including matters relating to glebe land and trusts); working with the various parish support teams in their missional engagement with the wider diocese. Richard also chairs the Diocesan Board of Education which has oversight of 103 Church of England Schools in the Peterborough Diocese. He prefers not to spend too long in front of his laptop or in meetings (although there are many), opting instead to be out and about in the parishes whenever possible. Most weeks he is preaching and leading worship in various locations around the southern half of the county.

Over the years Richard has undertaken various voluntary chaplaincy roles including: the Royal British Legion, Northampton High School, the Boys Brigade, Northampton General Hospital and Northampton Saints (the finest rugby team on the planet). Richard and Jackie are season ticket holders at Franklin’s Gardens and, over the years, have experienced the painful lows of relegation and the ecstatic highs of Twickenham triumphs.

Having been born in Shenstone and then lived in London and Stamford before going to university, over the past thirty years Northamptonshire has become home.


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