(Sunday [London] Times) A Life in the Day interview: Peter Owen, the former drug taker turned Anglican priest

As a young child, I was adopted and my adopted father died when I was four. Every adopted person I’ve talked to says the same thing: we grow up with an empty space inside. Is that why I turned to God? I’m not sure. I wasn’t particularly religious before, but in my late twenties I became aware that I was surrounded by a feeling of patience. There was no “big moment” when I decided to go to theological college, but it somehow became clear to me that I should live my life as a parish priest and I was eventually ordained in 1992. And the only reason I could give for being a priest was that I was a broken man. Maybe that’s the only quality you need.

As a non-stipendiary priest, you don’t get paid. You get a house, but money has to be earned elsewhere. I’m supposed to spend two days a week as a priest and the rest of the time on my other stuff — writing or catching up with friends and family. I’m sure some people see my books or watch me on TV and think I’m rolling in cash. Definitely not! It makes things a bit easier but, financially, life is still tricky. That’s OK. I don’t need a big TV or a fancy car. I have a home and goldfinches in my garden. If I lust after anything, it’s chocolate peanuts.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

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