|Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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All Saints Anglican Church 


The most frequent question I and other women clergy are asked when we come to a new place has nothing to do with who we are or where we come from. It’s quite simply “What do we call you?” Because “Father” doesn’t really work. My personal preference is just to be addressed by my first name, Paula. But if you feel that’s too chummy, then “Reverend Paula” will do equally well.

I have been here now as interim priest at the English-speaking Church of All Saints, Puerto de la Cruz, since late April and it already feels like much longer. My appointment is fixed term, coming to an end in autumn next year. And my job in the meantime is to get things properly in order for someone more permanent to replace me. Of course that’s not to say that things are currently in a mess – they certainly are not. Congregation members have done wonderfully well at running things since the last permanent chaplain left over three years ago. But the time has come to take a good look at what is going well, and try to make things go even better. And to look too at where we are struggling, and think about where we need to concentrate our energies. As in any well-run secular organisation, churches need to look at their structures from time to time and to check that their priorities and ways of working are appropriate in a rapidly changing world.

Our first priority, obviously, is worship, particularly on a Sunday morning, when we have a quiet service at 9.30 am and a much larger one at 11.00 am. We are blessed with an excellent organist, so we can sing hymns old and new with enthusiasm, and lovely grounds, where we can welcome folk for coffee or something stronger after the main service. My personal joy has always been working with couples who are preparing for a church wedding (or, outside the UK, a marriage blessing service) and with families who want their children christened. If that might be you, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Another priority for me is the pastoral care that is delegated to me by the bishop. Before I came to Tenerife I was working as a part-time hospital chaplain in a big teaching hospital and it was always humbling to see how much patients, regardless of their religion, would welcome a friendly face. And of course I have lost count of the times that, always on the men’s wards, people would say to me “I’m not that bad am I, Vicar?” Visiting the sick, whether in hospital or at home is part of what we are about. Again please don’t hesitate to ask if that is right for you.

You can find us at Carretera Taoro 29, nearly opposite the Tigaiga Hotel. And my contact details are:

Revd Dr Paula Clifford

Tel. 922 38 40 38 Email: paulaclifford4@gmail.com