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Simon Stokes to leave Norwich after 18 years  

Canon Simon Stokes, who has been leading the Sprowston and North Norwich Team Ministry, is moving to become vicar of St Margaret’s Church in Lowestoft.

Canon Stokes, 60, led his final service at St Mary and St Margaret’s on February 5. He has served at the church for 11 years. 

He grew up in Suffolk and first felt a calling to priesthood around 1981 while studying psychology and business at Northampton University. He worked in finance before then studying theology at Cambridge. 

He was vicar of St John’s in King’s Lynn and then moved to Norwich to lead Bowthorpe Church, which serves a growing community on the edge of the city. It is a pioneering partnership between four denominations: Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and the United Reformed churches. 

Simon’s sight deteriorated from his mid-teens, but as his vision faded, his faith gave him courage and determination to keep going. He uses computer technology to access the Bible with screen-reader software. 

He said: “Being a parish priest is the best job in the world. It is fulfilling. My main passion is engaging in the community and the church being a valued part of it. It is there for everybody, whether you have a faith or no faith.”

During the last 11 years his parish has expanded from St Mary and St Margaret’s and St Cuthbert’s to include four other churches in the north Norwich area. 


In 2012 he was inspired to start up and become a trustee of the Sprowston Youth Engagement Project, building it up with project leader Clare Lincoln. It now attracts over 60 people aged 11-18 who take part in gardening and can have mentoring and free activities.


“We have engaged with young people and helped the community to deal with anti-social behaviour and given them a safe place. There are some people whose parents cannot afford or choose not to afford activities” he said.

He uses his current guide dog Mayne to get around and can lead services through a computer screen which tells him what words to say through an earpiece.

Article quotations from Evening News. Pictured above is Canon Simon Stokes with Tigger, an earlier guide dog.





Eldred Willey, 06/02/2023

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