We’re looking forward to welcoming Mark James as our new Curate in July.  Here, Mark introduces himself and his family:

Samantha, Mark, Harrison & Elijah James

Samantha, Harrison, Elijah and I would like to start by thanking everyone for making us feel so welcome at the Palm Sunday service.  The welcome we have received through Andy, Jacqui and others we have met over the last few weeks has been amazing.  I am very excited (and a little apprehensive) about joining you all in July but as part of my getting to know you and you me, I offer you a short biography on me and my family.

We live in Stubbington and have done for 14 years.  The boys both go to school here and Samantha works at a local infant school here.  The other two immediate members of our family are our two cats.  Beyond this we have family local to us in Titchfield and the Isle of Wight, Australia and in Portsdown.
Elijah is our youngest son.  He will be eleven in August and will be starting high school this September.  Elijah is a sensitive clever and very funny young man.  He has a great sense of humour and loves to be at home with his family, particularly with his brother who he looks up to.  Elijah loves it when I am away at college at weekends as he gets to sleep in my bed with Sam where they sit and watch movies until late.  Elijah’s ideal afternoon would be the beach where we have been learning to fish when warm enough.  Despite the fact we have only ever caught one fish in in five trips both Elijah and I love it.  He loves to dance, is an avid reader and loves Maths.  On a cold day he likes home, a funny film, popcorn, ice cream and cola.

Harrison, our eldest, will be sixteen this year and loves sport.  He is looking forward to going off to college this September to study Sports and Journalism.  Harrison, like Elijah, has a great sense of humour and is full of love.  To earn extra money Harrison set up his own small informal business last year called Harrison Hire and does odd jobs for family and friends ranging from letting the chickens out to cutting grass and clearing paths.  Right now Harrison is mid-GCSE and revision.  Harrison’s perfect day would involve playing or watching Rugby, go-carting, football, golf and pizza.

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Harrison (left) and Elijah (right).

We are so proud of the man Harrison is becoming.  Sam and I are settling into our new found role as his taxi for him and his friends as they each begin the perilous journey into adulthood.

Samantha works as a Teaching and Learning Assistant at Crofton School.  Sam has worked with children for ten years and it has been amazing to watch as God has enabled Sam to fulfil this calling in her life.  Sam is looking forward to being involved at Christ Church.  Sam is (I am biased I know) the most beautiful person I know, inside and out.  Sam is creative, fun, loves life and radiates warmth.  Sam has been my rock through my training and the last fourteen years of our marriage.  I could not have studied as I have without her support.  Sam’s ideal day would be either a day with the family that ideally does not involve mud.  Another would be a spa day or being at a Bon Jovi concert.  I can’t wait for you to meet her and get to know the person I love.

So to me, Mark.  I feel so humble and privileged to be joining you at Christ Church.  I am excited about where God is leading.  I know one thing for sure, it will be in God’s strength and not mine that I Minister with you, but that is of course how it should be.

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Samantha and Mark.

For the last 16 years I have worked within the technology sector.  For the time being this is where I shall remain as I join you in a part-time and self-supporting capacity.  That said I do have plans that see me freeing more of my time.  Andy and I have met to start considering when I will spend time with you through my training and I for one am really excited about the opportunities we see despite my current time capacity.  My first sermon with you will the 10th July (feel free to come and heckle).  I am Ordained on the 2nd and I join you on the 3rd July so not long at all.

I love the city of Portsmouth; I consider this my home of which Portsdown is now a big part.  I was born in Emsworth; I grew up in Purbrook before moving to the Isle of Wight at thirteen then moving away at 28 settling in Fareham.  Beyond that Whitely at 30 and finally Stubbington where we have raised a family.  I am proud to be a part of Portsmouth, its history, its people and its future of which we are all a part.

Over the last six years I have had a passionate ministry for men, particularly work placed men.  Through this I am involved and co run two work placed ministry initiatives that I do as part of my working day.  One is for Christian people in the workplace (men & women) and one is for Christian business leaders (men) which is City based and has a growing number of international links.

A bit more…. I love to run, cook, walk, read, cycle and write, just not all at the same time.  I love to reflect, pray and delight in the Lord.  I even enjoy ironing!  I want to sign off and just say how amazing this journey has been for me and my family, of which I now consider you a part.  My prayer as I move towards July for us all is the passion and fire I feel burns for my new parish and all those that live in it.  I pray I will be a faithful servant who glorifies God.  See you all in a few weeks.

Mark James