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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Former soldier follows new path – to become team vicar

“LOSING friends and being in hostile environments with the Army guided me to my faith.”

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community role: Rev Simon Cake, who is the new team vicar

By Mark White

Simon Cake – the new team vicar of the Egremont benefice with Haile, and chaplain to the West Cumberland Hospital – says that his time with the forces revealed his true calling in life.

“I was in the Army for several years, starting as a graphic technician and moving into areas such as linguistics and bomb disposal,” said Simon.

“Like many people my age, I was brought up as a Christian but, to be honest, going to church and my faith were the last things on my mind.

“I was much more interested in nights on the town rather than going to church.”

Simon admits that his outlook didn’t change when he joined the Army, with religion not playing a large part in his life at that point.

“I encountered some tough times in the forces and I always found myself praying to God to get me through them.

“I lost friends and became involved in some very dangerous situations but I managed to come through them.

“Even then, my faith was not particularly strong and I went back to my old self whenever we came through it. Then one day, I picked up a Bible and started reading ‘the calling of Samuel’ and something just clicked.

“I realised God had always been there for me, and since then, I have realised my true calling is to become a servant to God.”

Simon’s legal induction and licensing was held at St Mary and St Michael’s Church on Monday night, with Lord Egremont, the mayor of Copeland and the leader of the council all attending.

Simon, 52, became an ordained priest in 2010, having “changed one uniform for another” after leaving the Army.

Both he and his wife, Kathleen, are members of the church army and arrive in Cumbria from the Diocese of Durham.

The couple bring with them son Oliver, who started school in West Cumbria for the first time this week.

On his new role, Simon said: “I just want to be a support to the hospital in any way I can.

“I am looking forward to working alongside people in the community and becoming part of the community itself.

“I want to learn from those I am serving alongside and to be a servant to God and his people in Copeland.

“My time in the Army showed me that everyone around you has a part to play and should be valued.

“Teamwork is vital when doing anything and in my new role I want to show that God can play a part in that.

“God encourages us to all work together and that’s what I want to help to bring into the community.”

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