EVINGTON PROFILES – ANTHONY LEES SMITH – VICAR OF ST. DENYS CHURCH, EVINGTON
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANTHONY LEES-SMITH – VICAR OF ST. DENYS CHURCH
Anthony Lees-Smith has been our local Vicar at St Denys for some years now. But how well do we know the man in the pulpit. Just so that everybody is clued up about our local Vicar and work of the church; we decided to interview Anthony himself to shed some light on these matters.
-What inspired you to become a Vicar, what was the moment you realised the dog collar was for you?
I first felt a calling to ministry when I was about 19 and working in Rome but it took ten years for me to finally get round to do anything about it! It was an emotional moment when I realised that I had been putting it off because I thought I needed more qualifications or experience. In the end it dawned on me that what I really needed was God’s grace.
-What’s the hardest part of your job?
The parts of the job I like least probably concern money and buildings but the hardest part is also the best part – being alongside people at times of crisis in their lives. This is an amazing privilege and I certainly couldn’t do it in my own strength.
-What is your favourite part about Evington, that’s if you can narrow it down to just one?
I love the diversity of Evington, the community groups, schools and village fete. I think our differences can really enrich our lives. We learn to see ourselves through the eyes of others, but that can only happen if we are prepared to open up to one another. I love being out in all our green spaces and spending time in the Cedars just chatting with whoever is there over a pint – these have been some of my favourite moments in the last three years since I became vicar!
-Which service has been the most memorable (hopefully for a good reason) since being at St Denys?
There have been lots of great worship moments like the first time we all ended the service outside in the shadow of the statue of St Denys and prayed for God’s help to be a blessing to our community. But I think my most memorable has to be last year’s carol service which was packed out with people from all different parts of the community, all coming together to remember the birth of Jesus in a very special way.
-What’s your vision for Evington, and what is the churches role in it?
The church’s new logo is based on the tree of life. The Bible describes this tree as having ‘leaves for the healing of the nations’. I would love our church to play a part in bringing healing and reconciliation among the different parts of our community. I think there is still much to do to foster real understanding and engagement. New initiatives like our Monday Meet and Welly Walks are designed to welcome everyone in our community, of all faiths and none.
– Could you tell us a bit about the work of One Roof Leicester, and how our readers could get involved with them?
At St Denys we are very excited about the work of One Roof Leicester, who we supported with our carol service last year. We hope that there might soon be a house in Evington where a small number of homeless people can be supported by members of the church and the wider community in getting back on their feet. If you would like to find out how you can be a volunteer, there is a meeting at St James the Greater Church Hall on Tuesday 29th September at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome!