He’s a guitar-playing, VW-driving vicar who enjoys being part of the community and going fishing
One reverend feels privileged to do the job he does.
Carl Edwards has led the congregations at St Peter’s Church in Fairfield, Dove Holes and Peak Forest for six years.
The 52-year-old spent his teenage years living in Chapel-en-le-Frith and worked in sales and marketing before being ordained in 2005 after training in Grimsby.
“The work I do now is the same as I did before, but it’s just a different product,” he joked.
The father-of-four found God in 1985, when he was aged 22, as he felt there was something missing in his life. It wasn’t until his 30s that he realised he was needed to be a messenger.
Working for three churches is not a nine to five job and Carl puts in nearly 60 hours every week. “I am a people person and think it is more important that I go out and meet the people of the community rather than expect people to come to the church.”
When Carl finds spare time he attends open mic nights where he plays his guitar, and up until a few months ago could be seen driving around in a VW camper van known as the Mission Machine.
The busy church in Fairfield, where Carl is usually based, deals with a great number of christenings along with wedding and funerals.
“Dealing with death is not a low point of the job, it can be emotionally demanding but it is a great privilege to be allowed into a very personal thing such as grief.”
The reverend knows of loss and last month said goodbye to his own mother.
“I’m always on and I’m always thinking of the community, but there are times I need to take myself away and recharge my batteries, and that’s when I go fishing,” he said.
“Nothing beats the silence and tranquillity of sitting by a lake and trying to fish.”
Carl has a lighthearted approach to spreading the word, and when he goes into schools tells pupils about Daphne, the rescue greyhound who thinks she is God but sadly she’s dyslexic.
He is much more relaxed at the pulpit but still remembers how nerves used to affect him.
“I was shaking so much the first time I stood up used to practise beforehand - now I just wing it!”
All you need is love, says Carl
“The Bible is always relevant,” said Carl.
When planning the next week’s sermon, the reverend said that he turns to the Bible to find suitable passages.
“There is always something you can call on to get your message across and I do try and make it relevant to the congregation.
“People need to remember that holy texts can be interpreted in different ways by different people and sometimes that causes problems.”
When speaking about the troubles with ISIS, Carl said: “It breaks my heart to see so much destruction in the world, and I am sure those of other faiths feel the same.
“We should all be tolerant and accepting of others regardless of which book they read from.
“We need to live in harmony, not a broken world.
“I think The Beatles got it right when they sang All You Need Is Love - a little more love by everyone would make the world a much happier place to live in, and I hope that one day it happens.”