The Vicar of Preston has revealed the reason behind his shock decision to quit as area dean, saying: “God told me to do it.”
Fr Timothy Lipscomb relinquished the role after receiving a visit from the “big boss” while he was delivering a sermon at the city’s Minster.
“I had a slightly odd experience,” he said. “I was in church in the middle of a sermon and I felt like God shouted at me to give up being area dean. I went to see the Bishop about it and he asked me if I didn’t like the job. I said ‘yes I do.’
“But you can’t go against the will of God, can you? So I have given it up.”
Fr Timothy, who has spent 16 years as area dean in his last two parishes, handed over the job to Rev Brian McConkey of Christ Church, Fulwood last week. But he is continuing in his primary role as the Vicar of Preston.
“The thing is I’ve enjoyed my time in the job - area dean is a sort of line manager for clergy in the area,” he said. “It is a busy role and takes up a lot of your time.
“But God clearly doesn’t want me to do it any more. I’m not quite sure why he feels that way. I really wish I knew.
“Perhaps he feels I’ve done enough. People have been asking me if I’m ill, or if I’ve had enough. But I have to tell them all ‘no,’ it’s not like that at all.
“It was strange really - similar to when I was called to the priesthood. It was that sort of experience.
“When it happens you have to listen. And, even though it was a very difficult decision to give it up, I decided it was the right thing to do.
“Maybe God’s reasoning was that when I retire, in the not-too-distant future, it will be easier for the Church to replace just the Vicar of Preston than will be to replace both jobs. But I really don’t know what his thinking was.”