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Introduction To The New Rector, Michele Du Saire

1st of July 2013

Please tell me about yourself
I was born in Jamaica and moved to England to study Quantity Surveying at Leeds Polytechnic (now Leeds Metropolitan University) where I met Bob who was studying Architecture. I worked as a Chartered Surveyor for many years before I felt called to Ordained Ministry. I was brought up a Roman Catholic but began to worship in the Church of England when Bob and I were thinking of getting married. I really value the breadth of churchmanship in Anglicanism, and we have at various times been actively involved in church congregations across the spectrum from Anglo-Catholic to Evangelical.

I have two brothers in the USA and a sister in Costa Rica. Bob and I have two children; Alisdair, 28, who is studying for a degree in Architectural Technology at Southampton, and Geraldine, 24, who is at home with us but will return to Preston this September to complete her degree in Psychology and Creative Writing. Alisdair and his partner, Rachel, have recently had a son, Caleb. We are thrilled to have become grandparents.

Any time for hobbies?
Not much. I enjoy needlework and walking. I’m really pleased to be living in such beautiful walking country. Bob and have already discovered some of the footpaths. I have recently begun singing more actively; this is something Geraldine and I enjoy doing together.

Why did you choose to keep your maiden name when you married?
Bob wouldn’t let me change and, of course, I always obey my Husband! Anyway, du Saire is prettier than Bob’s name which is Shearer. It doesn’t seem to have caused any particular confusion, although when I was ordained in 2009 the Church Registrar did express his concern that people would think we were unmarried.

What led you to becoming a vicar?
I do believe God was urging me into this but it is a long story. The seeds were sown by people around me, including my parish priest when we lived in St Albans.

Your first article for the magazines ends with Shalom – please explain why you use this word
Shalom is the Hebrew word which is generally translated ‘peace’: but it expresses so much more than this English understanding. It is not merely, or at all, absence of war or conflict and it is not passivity or tranquility: it encompasses a sense of wholeness and completeness; of physical well-being; of right and loving relationship with God and neighbour. This is very demanding but is what we should be saying in the Christian church when we greet each other ‘Peace be with you’. It actually is, “The peace which passes all understanding”.

Early impressions of the Benefice?
What a beautiful part of England! A real warmth and friendliness in all whom I have met. That the communities have hidden and untapped gifts to bring forward and I sense real energy and a desire to flourish.

Can you briefly share your vision for the Church of God, at a general rather than local level e.g. the nation or the worldwide Anglican Communion or however you choose to interpret it.
Shalom. Unity in Christ expressed diversely. This is my prayer for the Church of God, wherever it may be.
Interview by Frances Onians two days after Michele’s Installation as Rector

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