I’m Phill and the Rector of The Burghill Benefice. I’ve been married to Sharron for 23 years and we have four children. I am originally from Hereford and have never moved far from my roots. I love our countryside and the sense of space it offers. It reminds me of a famous phrase by a German theologian who once said: ‘Heaven is a place in which there is no cramping’. I love reading and writing, as well as the less demanding tasks of watching documentaries, TV series and movies. I am very interested in scientific research and in the exploration of psychology. Carl Jung is a particular favourite of mine. I also admire noted scientist such as Brian Cox and Brian Greene for their work of communicating complex things in simple ways. I endeavour to do likewise! In terms of TV series, I am addicted to the Big Bang Theory and always have a series to follow. I could do a list of favourite films but I’m afraid this is too difficult. Here are a few of my favourite things: The Shawshank Redemption, Leon, Good Will Hunting, anything to do with science fiction, James Bond, Quentin Tarantino; anything historical and last, but not least, The Princesses Bride. I love a hero, non-more so than Jesus! I also have two cats and a dog called Boo who loves me more than words can say.
I terms of my academic interests and history, I obtained a B.Th Degree in Theology from the University of Wales, Lampeter (2010) as well as a MA in Systematic & Philosophical Theology (2014) from the University of Nottingham. I have just completed my Ph.D (2020) in the Theology on the theology of St Augustine of Hippo’s notion of friendship, at the University of Nottingham with Prof Thomas O’Loughlin. My Doctoral thesis was focused on Augustine’s vision of friendship in relation to belonging to the Church. I am also interested in the role of classical philosophy and its place in the formation of Christian doctrine (what we believe and why). I also enjoy classical literature, both Greek and Latin, the Aeneid is my favourite! I have an interest in the translation and transmission of both Greek and Latin texts. I have also been known to make Byzantine Icons for devotional purposes. Here is one of mine which you can find in St Mary’s, Burghill.
Forthcoming and Published Works
(2021a) ‘Figurabat Ecclesiam: Figuration, Friendship and the Unity of the Church in Augustine’s Sixth Tractate on John’ [Baker-Brian & Lössl eds], Studia Patristica 102, Leuven.
――. (2021b) ‘Augustine’s Appropriation of Cyprian’s Unitive Tropes from De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate within his In Iohannis Euangelium Tractatus 1-16’, paper presented at XVIII. International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford [accepted for publication] in Studia Patristica, Leuven.
――. (2022) Friendship as Ecclesial Binding: A Reading St. Augustine’s Theology of Friendship In his Tractatus In Iohannis Evangelium , Studia Traditionis Theologiae series, Brepols, Turnhout.
Hi! I’m Susannah – I moved to Herefordshire after I finished university 3 years ago to work as a “Discover Intern” for the Diocese of Hereford. By the end of the year, I found I’d fallen in love with the area and wanted to stay put. So I stayed in Leominster and trained locally to be a Maths Teacher (in a weird year where we were moving in and out of lockdowns and I had to learn to teach in all sorts of weird conditions!) At the same time, I also trained to be a Lay Reader and was licensed in Leominster in 2021. After much less time than I expected (sped up by the increasing cost of commuting from Leominster), I’ve recently moved to Hereford to be closer to work and have started settling in to the Burghill benefice. I’ve loved getting to know some people already and am really looking forward to getting to know more people over the next few months.
When I’m not in school or at church, I can usually be found on a hockey pitch, out walking, or doing various DIY jobs (for which I have much more confidence than skill!)