'A Vicar's Life': 4 CofE clergy to star in BBC documentary

A fly-on-the-wall BBC documentary is to follow four clergy in a six-part series looking behind the scenes at life in a rural parish.

Camera crews spent six months following three vicars and one new curate as they grapple with local problems from homelessness and refugees to farm sales and dementia. From christening babies and marrying couples to visiting the sick and burying the dead, the series shows the priests embedded in their local communities' joys and sorrows.

Starting from left: Nicholas Lowton, Matthew Cashmore, Ruth Hulse and Matthew StaffordDiocese of Hereford

Aired next Friday on BBC Two, A Vicar's Life follows Matthew Stafford, rector of Wenlock Team Ministry, Ruth Hulse, team vicar at West Hereford Team Ministry, Nicholas Lowton, rural dean of Abbey Dore and Matthew Cashmore, assistant curate West Hereford Team Ministry.

With dwindling congregations and fewer people taking holy orders, rural vicars often have to cover several parishes and Wenlock Team Ministry, headed by Stafford, covers six churches across six different villages.

Explaining why he wanted to take part, Stafford said: 'I wanted viewers to see we are ordinary people, who are down to earth and who have similar joys and sorrows as anyone else, we just happen to be parish priests.'

He added according to the Shropshire Star: 'One of the biggest crimes of the church in the 21st century is that we have made Christianity sound boring and I wanted to give people an idea of faith as having influence in an increasingly changing world.

'If I can get that across then I think I will have done a good job.'

The Bishop of Hereford, Richard Frith said he was 'delighted' the focus' was on the church.

'In these times of austerity cuts and a reduction in the voluntary sector the church is often the only organisation left helping those in need, particularly in our very rural parts where the church building itself is the only focal place where a community can gather together.

'Our clergy are there for each and every one of us whenever we need them, regardless of whether they have met us before, ensuring the Christian message of hope is available to all.'

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