My Local Life: Revd Dr Steven Sivyer, Royston Parish Church

My Local Life: Revd Dr Steven Sivyer, Royston Parish Church

The Listing is delighted to welcome Revd Dr Steven Sivyer, who is honoured to become the Vicar of Royston. As the Church of England is the established church in the country, it means that he is not only the Vicar for those who attend church services, but for everyone who lives, learns, works, worships in or visits the parish. This is an aspect of his role that he takes very seriously, as a church is not a club with membership, but a community of people who exist to serve others.

Tell us more about your move to Royston
I have moved from an area of Norfolk which includes the Norfolk Broads and some of the East coast. I was the Team Rector of 19 churches (I did have two Team Vicars to support me!). When I tell people about where I came from, they often comment that people here often do the reverse journey, and retire to Norfolk. Before I served in Norfolk, I used to be a minister in Kent, the county in which I grew up and got married. Before I became a priest, I used to be a teacher and then Headteacher.

What has been your first impressions of Royston
I am loving getting to know Royston, especially the people. Even though there are a high number of people who look to Cambridge or London for their work, there is a strong community spirit in Royston, and many people are happy to invest into our community identity.

Tell us about the welcome from our community
As I walk around Royston, like in so many places, there are two kinds of people: there are those who walk the streets, looking at the ground, for whatever reason, not wishing to engage with other people, and then there are those who are happy to have a conversation, share a smile and wish each other well. I have particularly been blessed by Christians who attend the other fellowships in the town, who have been very welcoming, who desire to work together so that we can lovingly and faithfully serve our community. The recent Light Party at Halloween was a fine example of us all working together to be a blessing to others. This helps us to build and sustain our sense of community in Royston.

What’s your favourite local place to eat?
In the short time that I have lived in Royston, also with a limited budget, I have yet to explore the many fine places where we can eat, but I have been on a few occasions to The Jolly Postie, including when my daughter had her birthday party meal there in the former postal van. I have very much enjoyed the food there, whether pizza, ribs or roast. However, I am looking forward to finding out how good the other eateries are in. Being the Vicar of Royston means that I am there for everyone who lives, learns, works, worships in or visits the parish, so visiting the shops and eateries in the town is part of my ministry. Well – someone has to do it!

What is your favourite place in the world?
The Pilot Inn at Dungeness in Kent. I love the combination of great fish and chips, views across The Channel, and then the sight, sound and smell of the minature steam trains on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

What is your most valued possession?
I value people and memories over possessions, so my most valued possession is probably my wedding ring, as it reminds me of my wedding day, and of the love that my wife and I share.

Tell us about the Church at Christmas-time
I am so blessed in having been called to Royston at this time, where the church building has recently re-opened following the fire. Those who worked on bringing the building back to life also had the vision to improve it and make it a place that can be a blessing for the community. It is now light and warm, open to anyone during the week between 9am and 4pm. I regularly find a mix of people in there, such as people enjoying a coffee, or parents with children enjoying playing with the toys, or people who simply come to enjoy the space, light a candle, sit and come closer to God in prayer.
It is already a busy yet peaceful church, but it will become even busier soon. The Christmas Tree goes up on the 2nd December, and then we will have a number of concerts and performances, along with a number of services, both for the schools and also of the church for the whole community. One of the things I love about Christmas is that there is a real sense of the community coming together to mark God’s love which acted dramatically through a central point of human history. It is a time when we more openly share God’s love with each other.

What has been the most valuable life lesson that you have learnt?
Do the thing that you mostly want to avoid first. That way, rather than using up emotional energy in trying to avoid it and worrying about the fact that it still needs to be done, you feel energised by having done it with only better things left to do in the day.

Which four people you would invite to dinner?
Until just over a year ago, Queen Elizabeth II would have been on my list. Sir Simon Rattle, Pope Francis, Elon Musk and Sir David Attenborough.

Details of upcoming services can be found at:
St. John the Baptist Church, Melbourn Street, Royston. SG8 9LG