Camden News - by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS Published: 7 August 2008
Father Philip North
New priest’s on the move to ‘fascinating’ Camden
A PRIEST set to take over at a Camden Town church has described the area as “the most fascinating parish in the country,” Father Philip North, who is currently based at the Walsingham shrine in Norfolk, is due to become the rector of St Michael’s Church on Camden Road in November.
For the past six years he has been tending to the needs of pilgrims who visit Walsingham. They stay with Fr North for up to three days before moving on.
He said that he is looking forward to getting to know his new parish after so many years of working with ever-changing faces. “I’m not ministering to them as it’s a transient group,” said Fr North. “Walsingham is a place of pilgrimage. I look after them for two or three nights, and then they leave. But it’s a place where people bring all sorts of issues and there’s quite a need for fundraising, so that’s an experience I can bring to Camden.”
Fr North, 41, spearheaded a campaign to raise £2million for better accommodation during his time at Walsingham – a skill that will be welcomed at St Michael’s. Two years ago the church’s priest, Father Malcolm Hunter, spent 10 days and nights on the roof to raise money to fix the building, which is still crumbling.
But more than that, Fr North says he is excited about meeting the locals. “Camden Town is such an incredibly diverse community and it’s a place where the church is enjoyed,” he said. “The church is involved with the people down on their luck. It’s not just the drug addicts, but it seems to be a community where there’s quite a fast turnover.”
A keen cyclist,
Fr North is also happy to be closer to his sisters, nieces and nephews, who live in neighbouring Islington.
He will be “licensed” by the bishop of Edmonton, Reverend Peter Wheatley, on November 5.
Fr Malcolm is expected to take up a post as a prison chaplain.