Simon Couper has been the vicar at St Paul’s Beckenham for nearly three years. Sporting pistachio trousers, a beard and a dog collar, he is an interesting blend of tradition and innovation.
‘This is my first incumbency,’ he says. ‘My vision for my ministry is to “love God” and “love your neighbour”.
‘The way that plays out is shaped by context, by the people you minister alongside and to. It’s about encouraging everyone to think about the difference Jesus makes to their everyday life, and to be authentic.
‘I’m keen to encourage people to see that they’re already really well connected – as much as you should see the church as family, it shouldn’t be your only contact. I encourage people to pursue other interests. Be involved in music, in a book club, because of your genuine passion for piano or literature. No one is an island. They’re already in the business of being an ambassador for Jesus, it’s just a matter of being conscious of it.’