Announcement of Our New Rector:
St. Mary’s and Greyfriars are very pleased to announce that Reverend Stephen Hazlett will be joining as our rector. His institution will be on the 29th September 2016 conducted by the Right Reverend Dr Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway.
Stephen D. Hazlett- A brief account
Stephen is an Irishman born in Belfast, but spent many years in County Antrim, where the Wigtown and Kirkcudbright coast can be seen on a clear day . With many past visits to the Stewartry he feels he is coming home ; the welcome he received from both church congregations on 3 May , the day of the interviews , was warmly memorable.
Having worked as a transport clerk, a soldier in what is now the Royal Irish Regiment , and a police officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary , Stephen felt a call to ordained ministry from an early age . He also worked for various churches in a pastoral capacity prior to taking Holy Orders in the Anglican Communion . His universities were Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated with his B.Th, and the University of Ulster, County Londonderry, where he read a post- graduate history degree.
He served as a Curate in Portrush, County Antrim from 1988 to 1990, and as Rector of Rathcoole Parish Belfast from 1990 to 1995. This was a tough housing estate parish, rife with terrorist activety , high unemployment , and major social depravation . Yet he also had the youngest Select Vestry in the UK , and two young women church wardens of 21 and 19 ! Following this he was Rector of Bushmills County Antrim ( yes where the whiskey is distilled) which covered a small town and a village in a tourist area not dissimilar to Gatehouse and Kirkcudbright . Again here he was highly involved in peace issues and reconciliation of the Northern Ireland kind !
2000 to 2012 saw him move to Sunderland in the Diocese of Durham as Industrial Chaplain and vicar of a local church. Here he ministered in factories, call centres, and fire stations as their local padre, and was closely involved with both the Trade Unions and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as being a frequent speaker at City Hall events and the Round Table . He recruited a small army of lay chaplains . Being born in Belfast, the call of the sea always seemed to be in the blood--- a grandfather worked in the famous Harland and Wolf shipyard and a great uncle helped build the Titanic . He may have been the one who put the weak rivet in !! His present post is with the Mission to Seafarers in Europe’s largest port , Rotterdam , and also vicar of St. Mary’s Anglican church . Seafarers are one of the most exploited workforces in the world today, and the individual mariner is usually thousands of miles from home , and lonely. It is heartening to know both St. Mary’s and Greyfriars so actively support this good work , and Stephen certainly would like to develop some link with the local fleet, as he would with the Royal British Legion , for which he has in the past conducted many services.
Stephen is married to Hazel , an endoscopy nurse in Sunderland, where the family home is. She will be taking early retirement in November and joining Stephen in the lovely Rectory provided in Castledykes Road.. There eldest son Nathan is a teacher , and has taught English as far away as China. Their second son Matthew is a First Lieut , following dad’s footsteps, in the Royal Irish Regt. He is married to Tarnia and they have two little children , Bella 4 , and Sebastian 2. The youngest daughter Elizabeth, has an MA, and works for the National Trust near Newcastle .
When not pre- occupied with the church, Stephen plays the violin , until recently in a chamber orchestra in Rotterdam , and was a founder member of the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, not to be confused with the London Symphony Orchestra . The Solway Sinfonia may beckon - - -