FORMER nurse the Rev Denise Hayes has been licensed as the new minister at St Barnabas’ Church, Hattersley.
The Rev Hayes, who was ordained in 2005 after the church came calling, fills an 18-month vacancy at the church on Hattersley Road East.
The 56-year-old has previously served at St Thomas’ in home-town Ashton-in-Makerfield, St Phillip’s, Bootle, and St Francis and St Barnabas, Wigan.
The mother of two daughters is looking forward to the new challenge, saying she has inherited a “fantastic congregation”.
She said: “When I heard previously about Hattersley it was in a negative way but that is not a reflection of the area.
“It’s a good place and just needs people to realise how much it has and for them to stop seeing it in a negative light.
“The people are lovely and it is a fantastic community. We only have a small congregation but they are faithful.
“There is also a network of resources and partnerships in Hattersley which we will be looking to work alongside.”
Bishop Willie Pwaisiho, honorary assistant bishop of Chester and honorary assistant bishop of the Solomon Islands, and archdeacon Ian Bishop, from the Chester diocese, attended the licensing of the Rev Hayes.
In her spare time, the Rev Hayes enjoys walking her dog Bessie and discovering what she describes as a beautiful area.
She also enjoys going to the gym and is impressed by the recreational facilities provided by Active Tameside at Ken Ward and Copley Sports Centres.
She said: “The gyms have fantastic staff and classes.
“It helps me unwind, de-stress and engage with God.”
• The Rainbows, Brownies and Guides are looking to grow in numbers and they meet in the hall next to the church each Monday from 5.30pm.