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Bishop’s new Rural Affairs Advisor

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A rector who first learned about Norfolk agriculture while working at a flour and feed mill is the new rural affairs advisor to the Bishop of Norwich.

Revd Dr Tim Weatherstone’s first job in the county was as a chemist at Duffields Feed and Flour Mill at Saxlingham, near Norwich. It sparked a deep love of rural Norfolk.

I was there for almost seven years and was taught a huge amount about Norfolk life and Norfolk people by the brilliant and kind employers and employees. That was my introduction to many things agricultural. There is something very special about Norfolk and its natural environment. It has to do with beauty not so much in the unusual or the majestic, but in the way all of it – the variety and immensity of the green-ness of the land, the huge skies, the quality of the air – works together to create something extraordinary in the everyday.”

Tim’s new role, alongside his work as a rector and rural dean, includes keeping Bishop Graham up to speed on agricultural and environmental issues, helping with research and working with the Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Revd Dr Jane Steen on the church’s ministry to people living in country parishes.

Tim said it was a privilege to be asked to serve as the Bishop’s advisor.

“Those who work on or with the land love what they do, where they do it and it is right that the Christian Church in every corner of our diocese seeks to fully understand the challenges they face and the insights they bring. I hope to be able to be something of a conduit for our shared vision of enabling our rich landscape to be a place of Christian peace and flourishing.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, said:

“I am delighted that Revd Tim Weatherstone has accepted my invitation to become my rural affairs adviser, especially as this is a role in addition to his ministry as rector of the Barnham Broom and Upper Yare group of parishes.  He comes with much experience of rural life, wisdom and knowledge from walking the landscape of Norfolk, and, above all, a pastor’s heart.”

Tim moved to live in the countryside when he was appointed to the Barnham Broom and Upper Yare benefice – 15 churches, and around 3,000 people, between Dereham and Wymondham.

Tim says: “Over the last 13 or so years it has been such a privilege to renew my connections with farmers, farms and farming.”  

Tim lives in Reymerston, near Dereham, with his wife Mary, a pharmacist and church lay reader. They have four grown-up children and one grandchild. He was born when his family were in the Far East.
“My main language when I arrived in the UK was Dutch but I had been taught in four languages by the time I arrived here aged 11!” said Tim. He studied at the University of East Anglia, and then stayed on in the county, with a career including the feed mill and working in IT for Aviva before becoming a priest.