Churches make a reservation for new priest

ON THE MOVE ... the Rev Philip Bullock, who is moving to South Shields.
ON THE MOVE ... the Rev Philip Bullock, who is moving to South Shields.

A FORMER hotel boss is booking in to take over the reins at two South Tyneside churches.

The Rev Philip Bullock was the general manager of a hotel company, and owned his own restaurant and hotel business before being ordained a priest in 2008.

The vicar at St Alban’s Church in the Diocese of Coventry, he is soon to take on a dual challenge as priest-in-charge at St Aidan and St Stephen’s on the Lawe Top, South Shields, and the town’s St Jude’s Church at Rekendyke.

Mr Bullock, 53, said he was excited at taking on the new challenge.

He applied for the post after answering a job advertisement in Church Times.

And he travelled up to the borough for the first time during “Biblical-like” weather in December last year.

Mr Bullock, who is single, will be bringing his two cocker spaniels with him. He said: “I was interviewed in December during the floods, and met several church representatives, including the Bishop of Jarrow, the Archdeacon of Sunderland and representatives from Durham Cathedral.

“I spent a day in the parish and around the two churches, had a formal interview and at the end of that was offered the post in the evening.”

Coventry-born Mr Bullock, who was a church warden for many years, added: “It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to greatly.

“I have enjoyed the multi-faith side of church life in Coventry, enjoying very good relationships with Muslims and Hindus, and that’s something I will look to continue.

“The people I met in the parish were lovely and very friendly. I like the feel of South Shields a lot.”

Mr Bullock, who will set up home in St Cuthbert’s Vicarage in Sunderland Road, will be licensed at a service on Sunday, March 10.