The Revd Derek Winterburn is the 10th vicar of St James’s Church. Derek was installed by the Bishop of Kensington in a service at St James’s on 8th November. Find out about this on the page The Institution & Induction of the Revd Derek Winterburn and see the Photo Album.
Born in Orpington, in Kent, Derek doesn’t come from a particularly religious family. "I was sent to Sunday School every week. The lessons, however, weren’t inspiring and I’d have said the odds on me continuing as a Christian later were no more than 50-50." However, he began attending a church youth club – and it was here that signs of his future emerged. Inspired by the young men who took the group he became a junior leader. He later met his future wife, Sandra, and they were engaged by the time he graduated in 1982.
Derek visited a number of churches, independent, Anglican and Roman Catholic, looking for a spiritual home, settling on Christchurch Clifton. Then, in 1980, violence erupted in the St Pauls district of Bristol. The disturbance occurred against a background of increasing racial tension, poor housing and the alienation of black youth. This acted as a catalyst for Derek, who suddenly knew he wanted to work in some capacity for God in the inner city. He was offered a placement in Widnes, and less than a year later Derek was at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, beginning a Theology degree and ministerial training.
Ordained in 1986, he began his ministry in Islington, an inner-city parish with high deprivation, where he started a youth club for youngsters on the local council estate. Three years later he moved to Hackney, where he became a team vicar, again working in challenging circumstances, and where he helped to get a decaying housing estate demolished and better homes built in its place. In 1996, Bishop Richard suggested he move to St Mary’s, where he had been vicar for 20 years.
He is married to Sandra, a maths teacher; they have two sons (and one granddaughter).
Derek observed in the PCC of St James a desire to develop and grow as a church. "I know Betty Stewart’s legacy opens up so many possibilities. With a willingness to face the challenges, and resources to tackle them, I am confident that God will do great things at St James’s".
Nick Bagge interviewed Derek just before he became vicar of St James's. Read the interview We must open our doors wide.