Revd Andrew Bevan is the Assistant Priest for Stalham and Smallburgh Benefices. For 18 years, Revd Andrew and his wife Alison have run a business called Brundall Home Hardware, a home and DIY store with a garden centre.
For the second time running, the business was a finalist in the Broadland and South Norfolk Business Awards, nominated in the Broadland Retailer of the Year category. Revd Andrew says;
“A small group of us attended the awards ceremony at the football ground alongside three hundred business representatives from across two council districts. We were not the overall category winner but our nomination for the second time did acknowledge the way we place ourselves at the heart of the community.”
Revd Andrew wears his clergy collar at work, and both he and Alison make themselves available to be a listening ear to those who visit the shop. Revd Andrew says;
“Very often we will put a cup of tea in someone’s hand if they need a bit of comforting support or take them home if they are struggling with their shopping. Our shop has always tried to convey a welcoming environment. Since my ordination and the visible presence of a church minister working in the community, there has been a significant increase in both Christians and non faith people visiting the shop for a ‘quiet word’ or a prayer. Some of our boating community speak about popping up the road to buy something from “Revd Hardware.”
Self supporting ministers have undertaken theological training and are ordained as deacons and then priests. They might serve full time or part time in the parish, or they might combine this with paid employment in a workplace or have voluntary roles in the community. As a self supporting minister, being a part of the community and making the Christian faith more accessible is something that Revd Andrew is passionate about.
“I feel called to help in taking the church into the community and breaking down some of the perceived barriers at the church door. When serving on a Sunday I always try to be outside welcoming our congregations before the service starts. My business activities help to place me in the community.”
If you would like to know more about self supporting ministry or to explore this vocation, go to: Self-Supporting Ministers — Diocese of Norwich