Meet our Vicar – Revd. Jan Ashton
Revd. Jan Ashton was inducted and installed as Vicar of Hightown at St Stephen’s Church on 29 November, 2016 by the Right Revd. Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool,and the Venerable Pete Spiers, Archdeacon of Sefton and Knowsley.This month we interview our Vicar to see how Jan feels 12 months into her ministry in Hightown.
Focus (F): We were pleased to welcome you to Hightown for Christmas last year. How have you found it here?
Revd. Jan Ashton (JA): I’ve enjoyed so much: the beach, walking my dogs on the beach and on the dunes, the geese flying over, being only a train ride from Southport and Liverpool, being near my dad in Blackburn and my daughter in Wavertree. I have struggled with the noise of firing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no pacifist. If Hightown was being attacked, I’d bear arms. But when I hear the firing, it reminds me I’m listening to people practising to kill other people - that’s basically what they are doing, isn’t it?
F: You came up north because you wanted to be nearer your family, didn’t you?
JA: Yes, my 95-year-old dad has dementia and now I can see him often. It is hard visiting though as he does have violent outbursts. He said to me last time, ‘I’ll kill you.’ It’s like he’s back fighting the Germans in 1942. My daughter in Wavertree has two children with autism and they’ve been struggling. I’ve been praying that the right schools will be found, and that prayer has been answered.
F: And the church? What’s it like leading St Stephen’s?
JA: I think it’s a really good church: caring, friendly, prayerful, and inclusive. I invite my own friends and family to come. There does seem to be something for everyone. And I’m not just saying this because I’m the vicar!
F: What hopes and concerns do you have?
JA: I hope Hightown people will continue to care for each other. I hope the church continues to thrive. I hope we and Our Lady’s will continue to work together - Father David and I meet to pray together each Wednesday. Heh, if you want me to pray for you, text me . I worry about our Hightown pub. What will happen to it? I gather it needs a lot of money spending on it and who will pay for a refurb.
F: And if you could change one thing in Hightown what would it be?
JA: Oh, there’s so many. But I’ll go with this one - perhaps there will be adults volunteering for the cubs’ pack. It would be good to have girls and boys from 5 to 11 years enjoying scouting.