The vicar of Wantage thanked the community for making her feel "so welcome" this year, as she issues her first Christmas message to the town. 

Katherine Price, who moved to town at the end of June with her husband Laurence and their son Austin, became the town's first female vicar when she joined Saints Peter and Paul Church and at Holy Trinity Charlton.

Revd Price succeeded Philip Wells who resigned last year.

She came from Oxford University, where she served for five years as Chaplain of The Queen’s College, after serving her curacy at Grimsby Minster.

Herald Series: Rev Katherine PriceRev Katherine Price (Image: Archive)

You can read her Christmas letter below: 

I’m looking forward to my first Christmas as Vicar of Wantage, and I want to say a big thank you to the whole community for making me and my family so welcome. I really knew I’d arrived when I saw myself on the Dickensian Evening posters, as the local celebrity switching on the lights alongside Mayor Jim Sibbald – even if they left the actual job of throwing the switch to someone more technicaly reliable! But it’s also been a privilege to be invited to share more private moments, helping bereaved families plan their loved ones’ funerals, and they are particularly in my prayers at Christmas time.

Herald Series: Wantage CE Primary School's Christingle ServiceWantage CE Primary School's Christingle Service (Image: Supplied)

2022 hasn’t been an easy year for this country. Early in my time here, it was humbling to see how the Wantage community came together to pay our respects to our beloved Queen, and how the church was able to provide a fitting space to mark this moment.

Over the Advent season we’ve welcomed both Wantage CE Primary School and Charlton Primary School for their Christmas celebrations, and hosted two candlelit carol services. Seeing the church full is a tribute to people’s appetite to come back together to seek and celebrate hope. To be the Parish is to be the church for all, whether you come weekly or yearly or not at all, and it’s wonderful to be able to share a beautiful Christmas experience that doesn’t depend on what you can afford. I’m particularly looking forward to the crib service at 3pm on Christmas Eve in the Parish Church, with live animals from local farms and a new Nativity script by yours truly…!

Herald Series: Dickensian Evening with the choir and the stalls in the churchDickensian Evening with the choir and the stalls in the church (Image: Supplied)

But I’m also very aware this isn’t going to be a fairytale Christmas for many families in our community. This year, we remember the manger: that Jesus was born in humble surroundings, to a family making do in difficult circumstances. I’m just starting to get to know all the many charities operating here in Wantage, and how people in this community look after one another. Our Christmas Appeal at our services this year is for Vale Community Impact and UNICEF Ukraine.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” So reads the Christmas gospel. My prayer for the coming year is that the light of Christ should shine to all corners of our community.

Have a blessed and very merry Christmas!


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

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