Broads vicar to resign

A FUN loving vicar of the Norfolk Broads is resigning because, he said, he’s had enough after nine years.

The Rev Neville Khambatta who covers, Ludham, Potter Heigham, Catfield and Hickling Parishes said: “During the nine years I have been the Vicar here I have had to learn, to change and hopefully to grow, through what I have found and what I was asked to do.

“I have been taught things about myself and my faith by what I had to do. It was not always easy and not always comfortable, but it was necessary, otherwise I could have become stuck, pot-bound and then there is only one way to go, downhill.”

The “Rev Nev”, 62, as he is often called, admits to having an unusual sense of humour and revealed: “I like to please, but am often criticised.”

A former tutor at the Horstead Centre for young students, near Coltishall, for 14 years, Mr Khambatta said: “What we are faced with is religion, not faith. I don’t do religion, but I hope I do try and live the Christian faith. I don’t do it well, only Jesus did that, but, I do try and fail!”

He has recently been criticised over having drinks in St Catherine’s Church in Ludham and a firework display in the churchyard, but the vicar said he had had a lot of support from parishioners and local residents who say he is doing a great job and encouraging more people of all ages, into the Church.

“That’s what we need,” he said. “More bums on our church pews.”

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He said: “For some, their church building has become their faith, or so it seems. Let’s be quite clear, our church buildings are wonderful, they are historic, but nowadays many are not really fit for purpose.

“People say they want younger folk to share their faith. Okay, so make the building welcoming and convenient for them, otherwise in a little while we will have even fewer people worshipping.”

Churchwarden Ken Grapes said: “Neville has been a fantastic priest and was always available in any situation when the chips were down.”

Mr Khambatta was ordained in 1984 and intends to take a more relaxed view of life during retirement.

He will, however, still take the occasional service.

His final official service is at Ludham on January 9.