A new vicar has been appointed to take charge of a Petersfield parish – and to lead on mission and evangelism in the area.

The Rev Bruce Deans, who is currently vicar of St John’s Church in Fareham, will become the vicar of St Mary Magdalen, Sheet, as well as the lead person on mission, evangelism and outreach for the Petersfield deanery.

Bruce, who has been ordained for 19 years, is married to Caroline, an empowerment worker with the Christian charity Hope into Action, and has two teenage sons, Joseph and Daniel.

He said: “I love Jesus and I love all God’s people. I have a personal vision ‘to see everyone, everywhere come to know the love of Jesus and live a life of love’. 

“This comes from my understanding of Ephesians 5, verse 2. I can’t wait to share that vision with my new church family, the people of Sheet and all the churches that make up Petersfield deanery.

“It’s really exciting to be joining another outward-looking church, who share my passion for Jesus and for sharing the good news of Jesus with their community and beyond. 

“How great is it to have a role where I’m being specifically asked to help us all to share our love for Jesus in word and action.”

Bruce was also impressed by the selection process for the new role, which included being interviewed by pupils at a local school.

“I particularly loved being interviewed by a panel of children at Herne Junior School,” he said. 

“They were so professional and asked me some brilliant questions about who I was, what matters to me and what experience I have. 

“I hope they’re happy with my appointment!

“I have always given children and young people a high priority in my ministry and will want to see how we can develop all the good things already going on in and through St Mary’s Church.

“It’s so great that the church has both a youth worker and seniors chaplain, as well as a very talented ministry team – such a great framework to help us to love everyone, everywhere and share good news of Jesus in word and action.

“My only big sadness is that to accept this position, I’m having to say farewell to all the amazing and wonderful people in my existing church family at St John’s in Fareham. 

“This is not going to be easy, because I just love them – they are amazing and have loved me and my family so much over the past eight years.”