Penny CuthbertThe Revd Penny Cuthbert is the new priest joining the team in the Parish of Caversham Thameside and Mapledurham. Baptised as a child at St Margaret’s, Mapledurham, Penny grew up in Caversham and will be licensed on June 6 with responsibility for St John the Baptist Church, on Gosbrook Road.

From a ‘vague belief in God’ in childhood, Penny’s faith crystallised at Durham University, spending time with church-going friends and being especially impressed by Jesus’ story of the prodigal son. On her return to Reading, Penny attended Greyfriars Church, met and married husband Simon and began to feel a call to priesthood.

Ordained at Christ Church, Oxford in 2012, Penny has spent the last four years as a curate, supporting the vicar of St Agnes with St Paul and St Barnabas in South Reading and living in Whitley. She arrives back in Caversham at a time of change for the Church of St John the Baptist.

Penny will be called the Transition Minister for St John’s, and she will be tasked with leading the congregation on a journey of discovery towards a new future, so that it has a greater impact in its local community and the church grows stronger for future generations.

“I am delighted to be coming to St John’s as Transition Minister, the new priest says. “I have had a strong sense of call to this post and sense St John’s is at an exciting point in its history. I am looking forward to serving the community in Caversham and eager to discover what God has in store for all of us in the years ahead.”

The Revd Mike Smith, Penny’s new boss as Rector of Caversham, welcomed her appointment: “Penny comes to Caversham with real enthusiasm for life and for sharing her Christian faith. As St John’s church looks to the future, we have realised that we need to widen our appeal in the local community and be more relevant to the needs of those around us. Penny will have a great deal to offer us as she leads the church in this new work.”

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, said, “I believe Penny Cuthbert has been an answer to prayer. She will be joining a strong ministry team in Caversham and I know she will be welcomed and loved by the local community. I look forward to licensing her on 6th June.”