Rev Alison Walker – our new minister from September

Rev Alison Walker will be our new minister from September. She has sent us this greeting:

Dear (new, well, I hope soon you will be!) Friends,

I think the best way to get to know someone is over a cup of tea (milk, no sugar) and piece of cake (chocolate is always good) or a pint (real ale please) and a packet of crisps (always salt & vinegar), but as I have been asked to write something about me before either of those options will be possible, I’m going to try.

We are currently living in Florence, Italy, where for the last 4 years I have been a Mission Partner with a small Methodist Church. It has sometimes been as romantic as it sounds, and one of my aims on returning to the UK is to find some Italian speakers and keep on using this new and hard-won skill.

I hope that Gabrieli (name given before we moved to Italy) will become a familiar dog (standard poodle) around the fields of Haslingfield, which I think she will prefer to the urban smells and renaissance beauty of our current city centre lifestyle. Her name betrays our musical lives, because my husband Robin is an organist and conductor, who has spent the last 4 years maintaining contact with his choir in Kent, working in Italy and a few tours/concerts elsewhere in Europe and the USA. We’re glad he is going to be close to Stansted airport as we hope that some of this travelling will continue alongside UK concerts and teaching around London and hopefully Cambridge. You can search for him on the web, or just go straight to to read his biog and hear clips from his CDs.

Someone said that Cambridge is the Florence of England and we are looking forward to finding out what that means, but hopefully it includes gelato. I’m looking forward to working with three churches which look on paper to be quite distinct (Haslingfield, Sturton Street and Castle Street) and I hope to find new friends in all three, who are prepared to help us settle back into life in the UK and then to step out on the adventure that Church can be when it is filled with the presence and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I guess like all of us, we are looking for communities that will welcome us, seek to grow with us in our faith, and to keep on being the way that we choose to live in the world and in the Kingdom of God, both at the same time.

What else can I say? Don’t spoil the plot of any costume dramas that I’ve missed, please! I’d like to return to playing the saxophone, perhaps a choir as well, some French lessons.

I’m looking forward to meeting everybody soon. It will take me a while to learn names, it always does, but please keep on telling me and spare my embarrassment, especially as you have now got a head-start on getting to know me. Next time – over a chocolate brownie, or a slice of fruit cake, anyone?

With best wishes,


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