Interview with our New Associate Priest, Azariah France-Williams
The Reverend Azariah France-Williams was licensed as Associate Priest to the Parishes of Ss Peter & Paul and St Mary with St Alban in July. Here you can read an interview with him.
Who inspired you most to become a Christian?
My mother, a really good human, taught at Sunday School, and had the gift of co-opting people into faith.
What are your favourite books of the Old and New Testaments, and why?
In the O.T it is the book of Genesis. The creation poem begins with God stilling the chaos and bringing life. In the N. T. the letter to the Ephesians teaches us God is an artist and we are God's exhibit.
What is your favourite service in the Christian calendar and why?
I have two. The first is the service the day before Advent when candles are lit, and the second, Tenebrae, in Holy Week, when the candles are blown out.
What attracted you to SS. Peter & Paul? The potential for working in partnership, and the ability to work as part of a team linking with other clergy and the local school, in a very different context to that to which I had been used. Also the opportunity to work in a different liturgical environment.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
When I was 10 or 11 I read a quote “the wise person takes more opportunities than he is offered”. I learnt, therefore, to go and talk to any person who makes an impression on me. By doing this, you can „gather and connect‟ people in amazing ways.
With whom would you most like to be locked in a church and why?
My wife, Anna, in a building, perhaps a cathedral, which opens the imagination. We would have the time and space to think deeply.
What type of music do you most enjoy?
I enjoy some piano jazz, like the duet piece 'Just Enough' by Hancock and Elias. A capella music moves me, and I also enjoy African-American gospel, artists like Andre Crouch.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
I enjoy writing short stories. None are published as yet, but a full range of characters from obnoxious priests to Barbadian grandmas are awaiting discovery.
What is your favourite book, film or play?
I like anything with a good story line, and enjoy story telling. Two authors I enjoy are Neil Gaiman and Ursula Le Guin.
What are your worst and best childhood memories?
I wanted to be a doctor when I was a boy. One parents‟ evening my teacher told Mum I should set my sights lower. I was crushed. As an adult I learnt I was and am dyslexic. I hold an M.Phil., and collecting that degree felt like a real achievement.