News is a strange commodity. If you want the world to know you have just completed your first literary masterpiece ‘The Sludge Pumper’s Guide to All That Smells’, you could put posters all round the village, get friends to share it on Facebook and Instagram and in a couple of weeks’ time you might come across someone who has noticed.

On the other hand if you placed a one line advertisement in The Canvey Island Gazette announcing that you had managed to book the Rolling Stones for a concert on The Isle of Wight; then you would have no trouble selling a quarter of a million tickets in half an hour.

If an item of news is something you have been hoping for, it doesn’t need a great deal of telling for you to hear it. So you already know we have a new vicar.

The Reverend David Morgan has been appointed to minister to the benefice churches of Soberton, Newtown and Hambledon. I know from many conversations I have had over the past year and more, that this is something you wanted to hear.

In a couple of weeks’ time, David, his wife Vickie and their two children Jake and Freddie should have moved into the vicarage and our three churches will be looking forward to his licensing, here in Hambledon on the evening of the 4th July.

Hailing from Kidderminster in Worcestershire, David’s early Christian experience was in The Salvation Army before he came to the Church of England in his mid teens. Having studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Open University, David enjoyed a career as a freelance musician, which included time on the national tour of the musical Blood Brothers, over five years serving as Director of Music at St Mary & All Saints Parish Church in Kidderminster, and a hugely varied portfolio as a composer, arranger, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist.

David’s pre-ordination training was at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and included gaining a BA in Theology from Oxford University. Since 2016 he has served his title as Assistant Curate at St Faith’s, Havant, including an extended placement of some eight months serving in the three parishes on Hayling Island. His particular theological interests include liturgy, church music, and doctrine, and he is currently studying for an MA in Systematic and Philosophical Theology through the University of Nottingham.

David is married to Revd Vickie Morgan, who also currently serves as Assistant Curate at St Faith’s. He is proud step-father to Jake and Freddie Williams. He enjoys walking, real ale, and watching cricket.

David is delighted to be joining the new benefice of Soberton, Newtown and Hambledon as Vicar; he looks forward to getting to know the people and places of these wonderful communities as we begin a new stage of our exciting journey together.

Whether we consider ourselves ‘churchy’ or not we all seem to feel that a vicar brings a sense of cohesion to our village and is someone we look to for wise counsel, comfort when we are sad and joy when we are rejoicing. Yes, we shall be delighted if he is able to join in with the village, come to our parties, act on the stage, or take part in a music evening but we must remember he has three communities calling on his skills. We are now part of a united benefice, we must let him move his time and talents as he feels led.

Rachel and I together with our Readers have some insight into just what we expect of a vicar. What we expect, is a lot, and David will have three parishes to cater for. He will have to manage a wide variety of people, minister to our needs, laugh with us, cry with us and live amongst us.

Let us all resolve to welcome and support him, allow him and help him to develop his own style. Let us resolve not to demand of him the little things that we selfishly feel are important, but offer to him our prayers and support in more practical ways to welcome him and his family to the centre of our community.

Paul Foster
Rachel Houlberg
Church Wardens


Licensing is in Hambledon at 6.30pm on 4th July 2019. The Bishop of Portsmouth  The Rt. Rev. Christopher Foster will preside. This is a formal occasion  when along with legal installation, Rev David Morgan will quite literally be handed keys from the three churches of the benefice. A combined choir from the three churches will sing an anthem and there will be drinks and nibbles afterwards in the church. All are welcome, but come early for a seat.