Fr James Mather SSC, Rector

Fr James is a proud East Anglian of Northumbrian and Leicestershire extraction. He was born and spent his early years in rural Essex, before the family relocated to Suffolk when he was 8, remaining there for his schooling (with a number of house moves), until he went off to university.

After reading for a degree in Ancient History and Classical Civilisation at the University of Sheffield (1983-86), he worked in the City of London for a leading firm of Lloyd’s Reinsurance Brokers, called R.K. Carvill (1986-88), while considering his call.

Having received his theological formation at St Stephen’s House, Oxford (1988-91), Fr. James was ordained by the Rt. Rev’d. David Lunn, the Bishop of Sheffield (deacon 1991; priest 1992), and served two curacies in the Diocese of Sheffield, at SS Leonard & Jude, Scawsby and St Wilfrid, Cantley (both in Doncaster) before being appointed as Vicar of Lakenheath, north-west Suffolk, in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich (1995-2001).

In 2001, he began his present appointment as Rector of Downham Market & Crimplesham with Stradsett, in W Norfolk and the Diocese of Ely. He has served additionally as a member of the Diocesan Synod (2003-8) and the Diocesan Board of Education & Training (2003-6), and as Rural Dean of the Fincham & Feltwell Deanery (2005-8).

In September 2021, Fr. James and S. Edmund’s marked the 20th anniversary of his licensing as parish priest, becoming the third-longest serving (recorded), after Wilfrid Dorman (1924-58) and John Butler (1587-1640), neither of whose length of service will be surpassed with the way things are now done in the modern era.

Fr. James’ wider Church involvements have included serving on the Council and Patronage Board of the Society for the Maintenance of the Faith (SMF); the General Council of the Society of Mary (SOM), and as a District Superior of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS) for four East Anglian Church of England Dioceses. He is, additionally, a Priest Associate of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, a member of the Catholic League (CL), and of the Guild of All Souls (GAS). He is also an Honorary Chaplain to Thames Rowing Club.

Fr James has been a priest of the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) since 1992.