I am delighted to be appointed to the post of Interim Priest-in-Charge of Osbaldwick and Murton and Green Ambassador for the Diocese of York. My name is Johannes Nobel, but please call me Jan (pronounced ‘Yan’, with the 'a' as in 'car'). I am married to Majimcha (pronounced Ma-yim-ka, with the 'a' as in 'van'), and we have two children: Evan (9) and Yiska (6). We are Dutch citizens, but we have lived in this country for almost 14 years, first in Durham city, then in Stockton-on-Tees, and for the last 8 years in Heslington, just around the corner!
Majimcha studied Environmental Sciences and last worked as a Research Assistant.
I studied Theology in Leuven, Utrecht, and Durham and am an associate lecturer in Theology at the Yorkshire School for Ministry. I am a keen birdwatcher and amateur naturalist, and I very much share Majimcha’s love for creation – hence my enthusiasm for the Green Ambassador role. There is a huge amount of work to be done: General Synod has set the ambitious target of making the Church of England carbon neutral by 2030. All 589 churches and 125 CofE schools of our Diocese will need to implement measures to reduce and offset carbon emissions in the next 10 years.
But this is an exciting time for the church in Osbaldwick and Murton too. My appointment is part-time and ‘interim’ – for three years only – because we need to explore a much closer relationship with our neighbouring parishes, with the ultimate view of sharing pastoral oversight. Coincidently, like all of society, the church needs to find a ‘new normal’. This is as much a challenge as an opportunity. Instead of rushing back to our old ways, let us embrace this time to pause and reflect, to celebrate and nurture all that bears fruit, but also to do some careful pruning where needed, to encourage new life and growth.
However, first and foremost, let us take time to get to know each other better. I for one am very much looking forward to meeting you and hearing your life stories.
Twelve years ago Bishop Tom Wright of Durham signed my ordination Bible with the words of St Paul to the church in Thessalonica: ‘So deeply do we care for you, that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us’ (1 Thessalonians 2.8) These words have resonated with me ever since. So please pray for us over the coming months as we say our goodbyes, and as we settle into a new home, a new community, and a new ministry. You can be assured of my daily prayers for you.
Love and prayers,
Jan, Majimcha, Evan and Yiska