PETER Cunliffe certainly knows how to deliver a first-class sermon. For he is parish priest in Hemingford Grey – and one of the first vicar in England to also run a village post office. The Rev Cunliffe, vicar of St James Church, says it is all part and

St James’ Parish Centre

PETER Cunliffe certainly knows how to deliver a first-class sermon.

For he is parish priest in Hemingford Grey - and one of the first vicar in England to also run a village post office.

The Rev Cunliffe, vicar of St James' Church, says it is all part and parcel of the service, and he wants to stamp the gospel of Jesus on to the lives of many.

He said: "We hope the church can continue to run the post office for many years to come.

"Our aim and prayer is that by serving the community in this practical way, St James' Church family will continue to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ into the lives of many."

The church stepped in to save the local post office three years ago when the sub-postmaster retired.

Rather than lose the local service, the village applied for grants to adapt the community centre.

The parish administrator at the time, David Usher, took over running the service as a non-profit-making business. It is underwritten by the parish council which provides the accommodation rent-free.

Now, the Rev Cunliffe has taken over as sub-postmaster at the community post office after Mr Usher announced that he was leaving the parish.

Assistant church warden Christine Clarkson, said: "It is a real blessing for the people."

The post office, which also handles pensions and benefits and sells greeting cards and stationery, needed a permanent member of the Parochial Church Council to act as figurehead and nominee sub-postmaster.

The vicar was interviewed by Post Office recruitment staff in Peterborough and then appointed to the position.

Hemingford Grey Post Office is part of St James' Parish Centre, which is owned by the church and is open every day for church and community activities.