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Thornbury Parish


David Self - Retired Priest

Carol and I seem to have had a wandering life.  Both of us were born and raised in Toronto, Canada. We met at primary school, went to the same church before separating while Carol trained to be a nurse and I studied mathematics. Within a year of getting married we found ourselves going to Africa to join a newly formed university in Lesotho for 2 wonderful, life-changing years, including the birth of our first child and the call to enter the ministry.

Never people to do things the easy way we came to England to study theology at King’s, London,  while living in a small community in Mile End, before it was redeveloped, to encounter a fascinating mix of Cockney, Afro-Caribbean and Asian people.  We fully intended to go back to Canada but somehow we never did. Instead we acquired 3 more children while I found myself in a variety of parishes as well as a university chaplaincy and a hospital chaplaincy all over England, ending up in St. Paul’s Parish in Bristol.  With our excellent timing we moved into St. Paul’s just in time for the carnival to happen all around us! It was an amazing introduction to some wonderful people.  Social issues, people on the fringe, contemplative prayer, and the stories of many people have enriched our lives under God. And now we are happily settled and retired in Thornbury. Life is full of the unexpected!