A former economist who saw protecting consumers from big business as part of his work for God has been installed as the new rector of St Thomas a Becket church in Ramsey.
The Rev Iain Osborne, whose patch takes in St Peter’s, Upwood, and Ramsey St Mary’s, said he was looking forward to some interesting challenges, especially through the coronavirus crisis and the need for social isolation which has seen St Thomas’ put on extra services to fit the congregation in and turn online.
“I look forward to meeting many new friends and we will find out together what God has next for Ramsey,” he said. “One thing is certain - nothing is going to be the same after 2020.”
Mr Osborne said he had grown up in the church, with his father working as a vicar, and had contemplated a career there, but decided he could serve in other ways.
“I originally trained as an economist and I spent those 20 plus years trying to introduce more fairness into basic industries like electricity, gas, water, telecommunications and airports. I wanted to stop consumers being ripped off by big business.
“I believed that was Kingdom work and that God wanted me to do it. But then, in my mid-40s, he told me something different, so here I am.”
Mr Osborne’s career saw him working in the early days of broadband, at Ofgen, the EU, running essential services in Northern Ireland and at the Civil Aviation Authority.
But in 2013 he decided he wanted to provide a more direct line of work for God and took a theology degree in Cambridge, followed by the last three years working as a curate in Oakham.
Mr Osborne said he wanted to retain the traditional elements of the church as well as bringing in new features, some of which had been prompted by the coronavirus.
The online services have attracted people from the wider Ramsey population and have included a visitor from Hawaii.
“It is a question of keeping the old and equally, trying new things,” he said.
Mr Osborne added: “The Church of England e
xpects its priests to be many things, but I do value the double call - to be a steward, which means caring for the people God calls into the church, and a sentinel, who looks beyond to see what is coming down the road towards us.”