|St James's vicars through the years | Revd Fitzroy John Fitz Wygram | Revd Henry Bligh | Revd Charles Robert Job | Revd Richard Coad-Pryor | Revd Frederick Pearce Pope Harvey | Revd Rupert Hoyle Brunt | Revd John Nicholas Chubb | Revd Brian Leathard | Revd Peter Vannozzi|
Revd Leathard was born on 2nd May, 1956 and attended the Judd School, Tonbridge, Kent, from 1967 to 1974. He and Ramani met while undergraduates at the University of Sussex. He read European Studies from 1974 to 1978 and Ramani, who came from Sri Lanka, read Economics in the School of African and Asian Studies, a background which prepared her well for her employment with Christian Aid. Between 1976 and 1977 Revd. Leathard taught in the University of Bonn, West Germany, before returning to Cambridge from 1979 to 1982 to read Theology & Religious Studies at Selwyn College and prepare for Ordination at Westcott House and indeed to marry.
Revd Leathard and his wife returned to Sussex to the parish of Seaford where he served his title for three years, as Assistant Curate, St Leonard, Seaford, Diocese of Chichester from 1982 to 1985. A daughter, Anusha, was born in Seaford on 12th May 1983. He was ordained Deacon of Petertide at Chichester Cathedral in 1982 and Priest at St. Saviour, Eastbourne in 1983. The family moved to the midland Diocese of Leicester, where from 1985 to 1989 he was Senior Anglican Chaplain, Loughborough University & Colleges, Diocese of Leicester - three Institutions with a population of about 15,000. While in Loughborough Ramani completed a Masters degree and Brian continued with his doctorate. The family enjoy music, food and travelling, value spending time together and enjoy meeting people. Read the article Vicar Found.
Revd Leathard obtained his PhD from Loughborough
University in 1991. He became Director of Ordinands for the Kensington
Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London, responsible for the discernment,
selection, training and placement of those who felt they may have
a vocation to ordained ministry in the Church of England. He was also
co-ordinator of the partnership between the Diocese of London and
the German Protestant Church in Berlin. The Bishop of London offered
Revd Leathard the Prebendal Stall of Reculversland in St Paul’s
Cathedral in 2005. Read the article Prebendary
Brian. As a governor of the local schools, Revd Leathard chaired
various panels and was a counsellor to staff and families.
The spire was renovated, the church interior redecorated and the organ rebuilt. The then controversial red purpose-built chandeliers were installed, the sound system updated and a TV link created to the new hall. A series of new kneelers was a millennium project for the church involving about thirty volunteers. The south aisle stained glass windows and the chancel east window were repaired and restored in 2005. The churchyard, being full, was closed for burials in 1990, and responsibility for its maintenance passed to the Local Authority.The massive task of recording all the details of the graves and drawing plans was completed in 2001. In 1999 a three bedroomed terrace house was purchased for the new curate, Revd Freda Evans, since when it has been occupied by a curate or let to bring in funds for the church.
A major change and challenge lay in the new west
porch project, entitled 'Opening our Doors', that was launched in
2002 and officially opened in 2005 after a number of difficulties.
"We have a beautiful church which
we want to share with those who pass by. More than this, the glass
doors would also state that this church is open and welcoming. It
is a church which is active in proclaiming the mission and purposes
of God in our community. Glass doors would help to open up the mystery
of God's presence in our world." The glass doors gave
a view of the whole length of the church, and the extension contained
for the first time a Parish Office. New wiring enabled the altar to
be floodlit so that the interior of the church could be lit at night
to enhance the 'Open Door' aspect of the project. Read the page The
History of the West Porch.
Revd Leathard left the parish in 2006 to become Rector of Chelsea, St Luke & Christ Church. The church was full to bursting with friends from near and far for his last service. After the service he was thanked for all his hard work over the years and was presented with gifts from the parish, including beautifully made books from the Sunday School, Brownies and Guides, a watercolour painting of the church, books about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a book made of photographs and memories from parishioners.
There were many tributes to him including "he was truly a Man for All Seasons, Brian’s message always was sensitivity, humour and above all a Christian spirit …. he was many things to many people …….. a priest with a high degree of spirituality, who encouraged all believers, not somebody with the qualities of the archangel Gabriel, but one whose feet were firmly on the ground and yet whose faith was strong enough to lead us forward ...... His ability to 'speak to' everyone providing intellectual challenge with a clarity of delivery, has enabled us to achieve a deeper, clearer and more meaningful comprehension of spirituality. In management-speak 'empowerment' may be an overused word, but in the context of Brian's 17 years at St James’ it accurately describes the way in which he has sought to build up the body of Christ within the church and in the wider community. He is a very thorough, careful and prayerful person giving kind and gentle support and encouragement. By knowing people's skills and talents, followed by that all-important personal invitation, he has given many the confidence to take on roles and to contribute with remarkable effect to our common life." Read the article Key to Success. In seventeen years, Revd Leathard was so many things to so many people - preacher, teacher, friend, comforter, supporter, inspirer, challenger, theologian, writer, listener, music maker, thinker, mediator, visionary, priest, scholar, friend, raconteur, counsellor, businessman and many more.
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: stjames-hamptonhill.org.uk