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Ministry on the shop floor

For Richard Moore, a curate at St Nicholas Church in Kenilworth, a major part of his ministry lies outside the church. Alongside working at the church, Richard works full-time in his family’s menswear store in the centre of Kenilworth. Richard wears a dog collar when working in the shop which allows for conversations and questions about faith to naturally come up.

In 1903 Richard’s great grandparents moved to Kenilworth and opened J.A. Moore menswear on Warwick Road. The shop passed down the generations and is now run by Richard and his brother William. From a young age Richard helped out at the shop on Saturdays and during school summer holidays. After a brief spell away from Kenilworth after leaving school, Richard returned aged 21 to work full-time in the shop.

Although he was not a churchgoer until his mid-forties he was baptised and got married at St Nicholas Church in Kenilworth. It was a trip to Oxford that sparked the beginnings of his relationship with Jesus. He saw a biography of Thomas Cranmer in Blackwells Bookshop and took an interest in it. Back in Kenilworth, he took the book out of the library and read it. After completing the book he went to St Nicholas Church for a Sunday service and quickly got involved with church life.

A call to ministry started developing and got stronger as the years went on. Richard describes this as a ‘restlessness’ that he discerned was from God. This lead to training part-time at The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham alongside working full-time in the shop. Whilst it was challenging to balance training for ministry, a full-time job and family life, Richard really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the Christian faith by studying theology.

Richard was ordained a deacon at Coventry Cathedral on the 30th June this year and afterwards started his curacy at St Nicholas Church. He decided early on in his training that he would continue to work full-time after ordination and also wear a dog collar in the shop. This allows for a unique area of ministry. Richard spends most of his days talking to customers and more often than not God comes up in the conversation. He has noticed that since being ordained not only have most customers been overwhelmingly positive they also have been more open about talking about tragedies, illnesses and bereavements in their lives and he has been able to give them support. Also, people ask Richard about his work with the church and he is able to share his love for Christ with them.

Working full-time whilst being a curate does make life incredibly busy for Richard and occasionally he has to miss curate training days because he has to work. Yet, he believes the benefits far outweigh the costs. Working in a shop in the centre of Kenilworth allows him to connect with people in a way that is not usually open to members of the clergy.

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