Clergyman and historian Philip right at home in his new role at Holy Trinity in Washington Village
A centuries-old Washington church is welcoming a new parish priest with a taste for North East history.
Reverend Dr Philip Lockley took over at Holy Trinity in Washington Village on Wednesday, March 17, leaving behind his role at St Clement’s in Oxford.
But he was already familiar with the area. Philip, 39, had a spell working in Sunderland and studied for a history degree in Newcastle. He then attained a doctorate at Oxford University.
Before his ordination by the Church of England in 2017, he worked at several churches in the region, including parishes in Peterlee, Weardale and Darlington.
He moved to Washington with his wife and young family and is familiarising himself with the area. As a lover of history he expects to be right at home in the church, which dates at least as far back as the 12th Century.
He said: “I first came to the North East 20-odd years ago as a student at Newcastle University. I also had a summer job at the Museum and Winter Gardens in Sunderland. So I have a love of the history of the North East. I know the rich history of Wearmouth and Jarrow.
“When I was teaching about faith in the past, my own faith became more important and that’s what I want to share with people now. I see my role here as being about sharing how faith and the church are about the present.
“The opportunity in Washington came up and the Holy Trinity has a great church community. You sense that people in the wider area are drawn to it too.
“My wife is originally from Chester-le-Street. She has fond memories of visits to the Galleries. I’m really enjoying getting to know Washington and had a couple of visits before taking the job.
“It has a lot going for it and it was ahead of its time with green spaces. I also get the sense that people really look after each other.
“I think there’s a sense that in lockdown there’s an indication that people have been thinking about prayer and the meaning of life over the last year.
"The church gives people the opportunity to explore that and Holy Trinity will be a good community to provide that.”
Outside the church, Philip is a keen canoeist and cyclist.