Faith in music a theme of Rev Alan’s church

Rev Alan Saunders is the new vicar at Christ Church Pennington, Leigh
Rev Alan Saunders is the new vicar at Christ Church Pennington, Leigh

A vicar with a love of music is definitely singing from the right hymn sheet after landing a job leading a church in the borough.

Rev Alan Saunders moved to Christ Church Pennington around seven weeks ago and has expressed his delight at the appointment.

My predecessor here retired on Easter Sunday and I couldn’t help thinking if it was coincidence or God’s timing bringing me to Leigh.

Rev Alan Saunders

The role is Rev Saunders’ first parish as a minister, having previously done his three-year curacy at St Peter’s Church in Halliwell, Bolton.

Having visited Pennington as a guest preacher a few months before the previous vicar at the church retired, Rev Saunders says he definitely feels taking on the role was just meant to be.

He said: “I was asked to lead at their carol service last year and I thought it was a really good church, with loads of activities going on and people who were fired up and really nice.

“I thought if it ever came up it would be the sort of thing I would be interested in. Then, of course, my predecessor here retired on Easter Sunday and I couldn’t help thinking if it was coincidence or God’s timing bringing me to Leigh.

“I passed the interview and it is now going brilliantly. We’ve received a fantastic welcome and the people are really friendly.”

Rev Saunders got the call to ministry after around seven years working for Christian charity The Mission Trust, which specialises in bringing the Bible’s messages to young people.

He says bringing the church and faith to the next generation of worshippers in a way that is relevant to them is one of his particular passions.

However, he also stressed he seeks to serve the whole community and has wasted no time in building bridges in the area, running a joint event with the Friends of Pennington Hall Park.

He said: “Community runs through me like the words through the middle of a stick of Blackpool rock. I met Trisha Taylor from the friends’ group and we did the community carol parade with the lantern parade going through the park to the church grounds.”

Before becoming involved in faith-based work Alan spent more than 20 years in the rail industry, having trained as an engineer with British Rail.

A keen musician, he performs regularly at Leigh Bowling Club.