A NEW minister has been welcomed into Uttoxeter as he takes up his role in the Methodist church.
Gordon Gresswell, of Fairfield Road, can now be found at Uttoxeter Methodist Church, in High Street, after receiving his calling to the role seven years ago.
He will also cover the Methodist churches in Stubwood, Woodmill near Yoxall, Barton under Needwood and Short Street in Stapenhill.
The 47-year-old said: “It was God who called me to the church.
“I didn’t have a church background as I came from an atheist home but I had an experience which saw God become all consuming.
“I have now been a Christian for 14 years.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride that brought me into the ministry and where we are now really.
“I was a psychiatric nurse by trade but I gave up my registration as it is easy to fall back into it if I didn’t.”
Since starting in the town, Reverend Gresswell, who used to be a minister in Burton, said he has been made to feel very at home and now he wants to encourage residents to look to the future, not back at the past.
He said: “Uttoxeter is lovely and I have felt very at home.
“I have also found that it is an interesting place.
“One of the interesting things I have found is while everyone has been very welcoming they are still very focused on the past.
“They miss the cattle market and don’t like having so many empty shops.
“There is a sense of looking back instead of looking to how to go forward.
“We need to focus on how to engage to look forward with optimism and hope.
“The churches, council and schools need to all be part of this moving forward to give people a sense of belonging, togetherness and not looking back.
“One of the things that does come up in Uttoxeter is a strong sense of local community.
“In a globalised world it is important to have a sense of community.
“The town is a part of the local people.
“The God that I know is very big and the ever expanding universe that we hear about is God getting bigger.
“I would like to see the church as part of the process of people feeling a sense of belonging in Uttoxeter.
“We have got a town that has got a future and I would like to see people looking ahead to that future and not back.
“People will start to feel that sense of renewal in Uttoxeter and hopefully the church will be part of that.
“Places within a community are really starting to feel the pressure, whether that be the church, shops or pubs, as you can do everything online now but there is something about belonging somewhere and being able to have face to face contact rather than through electronic communications.
“I find the whole social media thing a waste when you can say something to someone face to face.
“People need to feel a sense of belonging in their locality so they can look with hope to the future for transformation and change.”
Reverend Gresswell, who is originally from Derby, has now moved into the town with his wife Sue.
He also has one daughter as well as two step sons.
Speaking about his love of the job, he added: “It is an amazing job as I am always surrounded by different people at the rawest edge of their life.”