'Vicar stories tend to be amusing or bizarre' says retired clergyman Clifford

Retired vicar Clifford Owen wrote a book about his life in the clergy.

Retired vicar Clifford Owen has written a book about his life in the clergy. - Credit: CLIFFORD OWEN

Retired vicar Clifford Owen opens up about life in the clergy in his new lockdown book. 

The book, entitled: 10 Churches 3 Crises 1 God Clifford tells the story of his nearly 50 years wearing a dog collar - from his early career in the Royal Navy in 1965, through to 2021 where he was still working as a "licensed odd job vicar" in Huntingdon.

Clifford Owen's new book is called 10 Churches, 3 Crises and 1 God.

Clifford Owen's new book is called 10 Churches, 3 Crises and 1 God. - Credit: Clifford Owen

Clifford said he had no blinding light revelations that called him into the church’s ministry, just a growing conviction that he had to test his call as he got on with the business of training as an engineer in the Royal Navy.

He said the three crises in the title were significant - the first happened when his theological college in Cambridge nearly closed down after an internal dispute, the second hit the headlines and involved a row between the organist in a Worcestershire parish and a woman who ran a New Age shop making him to consider resignation and the third crisis was of interest to all of us because we were all in it: Covid-19.

Clifford said that in the final chapter he asked difficult questions, such as whether God had anything to do with Covid-19 and whether prayer could be part of the answer to the virus.

He admits to enjoying church-based TV shows such as The Vicar of Dibley and Father Ted and had loved the sketches of The Dave Allen Show.

"But how far do TV sitcoms represent the realities of life as a vicar or priest? Normally "vicar stories" need to be amusing, bizarre, or naughty to gain attention," Clifford said.

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But in 10 Churches 3 Crises 1 God Clifford "tells it for real", adding: "This has set the target for the present book which is beyond the church walls.

"I hope that many who don’t regularly go to a service will find that vicars are human beings who laugh and cry, feel fulfilled and frustrated, sense achievement and get angry, but also testify to a faith that sees them through it all."

The book is available via Amazon and Kindle.