First female priest for Royston parish

THE first female priest in a Royston parish’s history is set to take up her post.

Rev Heidi Huntley will take over at St John the Baptist, in Melbourn Street in October and told the Crow she is looking forward to the challenge.

The 40-year-old said: “I am very much looking forward to it. I have been to the town a handful of times and it was pleasant and looked terrific.

“It was a very warm and welcoming town and me and my husband are looking forward to settling down and making it our home.”

Rev Huntley (pictured) was ordained three years ago after working as a nurse specialising in caring for children, including at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

She gave up nursing to become a priest even though she “loved it” and her role in Royston will be her first leadership position within the church.

Although she is setting a historic precedent in the town, she does not think her gender will be a problem.

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She said: “Being ordained and female I think it is the right thing that the church should do. I would also say that we should be struggling for equality and inclusivity and I would say whatever sphere your talking about that it should be inclusive.

“I believe Jesus called men and women to teach the good news and therefore women should be doing that.”

Rev Huntley currently lives in south east London and will take over at the church on October 16 replacing Rev Les Harman.

He was at the church for 16 years and the father-of-three oversaw a number of projects including repairing the church’s roof.

Brenda Strangleman, a church warden, is looking forward to the new priest starting.

She said: “We are certainly looking forward to her starting, it will be good for us.”

A ceremony will be held to officially appoint Rev Huntley on October 16.