SPELLBINDING sleight of hand tricks could become a regular feature of services at church services in Claverdon, Preston and Wootton Wawen with the appointment of a new ‘magic minister’.
The Reverend Dr Andy Larkin has been installed as the new priest at St Peter’s in Wootton Wawen, St Michael’s and All Angels’ in Claverdon, and All Saint’s Church in Preston Bagot.
The new vicar’s love of magic is what has really got people talking though.
Andy, 46, is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians, an organisation of Christian entertainers who use their skills to spread the message of the church.
“I do conjuring and illusions particularly at weddings, and also during school visits and occasionally at Sunday services,” he said.
“I use magic as a visual aid to help communicate and to help make a point. It is stage magic, which doesn’t mean I am cutting people in half or anything like that, but I use small hand-held props that do unexpected things.
“I do mind reading and traditional tricks using cups and balls and ropes.
“People absolutely love it, I find it particularly useful at weddings. Sometimes the bride and groom can be a bit nervous and a trick can help break the tension and raise a few smiles. It’s not serious magic like Derren Brown or anything like that, it’s just a bit of fun.
“I have been interested in magic since I was a child, and every now and again I have picked up new things and learnt new tricks. I have been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians for more than five years, it’s a large society with hundreds of members in the UK and thousands internationally.
“There are a lot of other magic organisations about but the problem is a lot of them do events on Sundays, or in the evenings, which is hard for me because the nature of the job means I have to work unsocial hours to be there for my parishioners.”
Andy, whose last parish was in the Peak District, has a doctorate in computer systems at Warwick University and previously had a career in business consultancy. He is married with three children and is the latest minister to be appointed at St Peter’s, the oldest church in Warwickshire.
Andy is not the only new priest to be appointed recently.
A new rector for the Church of England Benefice of Quinton, Welford, Weston and Marston Sicca was installed recently at St Swithin’s Church in Quinton.
The Reverend Ros Greenhalgh was officially licensed by the Bishop of Gloucester, The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, to run the benefice of churches last month.
Ros, a former senior sister of the Cardiology Unit at Gloucester Royal Hospital, has a husband called Tim and a daughter Sarah. She was previously a minister at St Mark’s Church in Cheltenham.
“A huge thank you for the welcome that Tim and I have received over the past three weeks from all corners of the Benefice, it has been fantastic to meet so many lovely people who clearly care very deeply for the communities in which they live,” Ros said.
“Tim and I are really looking forward to moving to south Warwickshire and are very excited at what God has in store for us on this next step of our journey.
“We will be living in Welford but we’ll be proactive in getting to know everyone across the Benefice.”