Lisa Barnett - Village People

By Claire Cooper 

When Lisa Barnett arrived at St Augustine’s Church in Scaynes Hill two and a half years ago, she immediately broke tradition by becoming the parish’s first female vicar.

But earlier this year Lisa went on to create a further piece of history by becoming the first vicar in the diocese to take maternity leave, after giving birth to twin daughters.

Now back at work, Lisa is enjoying the challenge of juggling her part-time role as vicar of St Augustine’s Church with being mum to Cara and Amy, who have just celebrated their first birthday.

“Returning to work was daunting but wonderful at the same time,” said Lisa. “I’ve had fantastic support from the community in Scaynes Hill. Some church congregations might not be too pleased about their vicar taking maternity leave but everyone here was really delighted for us. When the babies were born parishioners drew up a rota and brought us meals every day.

“My first Sunday service after returning to work was very special, with me leading from the front and having my husband and daughters at the back of the church.”

Sussex born and bred, Lisa grew up in Worthing and became a Christian when she was 15 years old. “I had a lot of friends who were Christians and spent a lot of time in discussions with them, asking difficult questions and enjoying our debates,” she recalled. “Gradually I found myself talking to God and saying: “I still have a lot of questions but I believe you’re there.”

Full story on page 18 of February 2014 issue...