Former Trawden vicar celebrates 60 years of ministry

Rev. Ian Robins who is celebrating 60 years in the Church of England priesthood pictured at home with his Gertrude.'Photo Ben Parsons

Rev. Ian Robins who is celebrating 60 years in the Church of England priesthood pictured at home with his Gertrude.'Photo Ben Parsons

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Controversy and the Rev. Ian Robins have been no strangers to each other during his remarkable 60 years as a Church of England priest.

He hit the headlines when he clashed with traditionalist bishops over his unwavering support for the ordination of women.

He also quit Trawden parish because he was tired of parents who wanted their children baptised but were unwilling to commit themselves to God.

And although he is now 84-years-old and not as mobile as he would like, his beliefs and principles are as strong as ever.

Parishioners will gather at Whalley Parish Church tomorrow morning (Sunday) to celebrate the diamond anniversary of what Mr Robins describes as “not a double act, but a triple act – God, myself and my wife, Gertrude.”

He says: “I could not have done it without her consistent help and support.

“I have supported the ordination of women because I find it offensive to consider women as subordinate to men in carrying out God’s work.”

And talking about his baptism beliefs, Mr Robins added: “I never refused to baptise any child. I just wanted the parents to make a commitment.

“I was getting so many parents who had no contact with the church but were prepared to make the baptism promises, and I believe that promises ought to be meaningful.

“They needed to grasp that Jesus should be part of their lives in some way.”

Mr Robins’s father, the Rev. Donald Robins, was a vicar in Leeds and founded the St George’s Crypt rescue centre, which is still running today.

He said: “I used to sit and listen to his preaching. It was so full of the love of God.”

The young Ian trained for the Anglican priesthood, and at his first church as deacon, in St Anne’s, he met his wife-to-be, who was leading the youth group.

He was curate at St Mary’s Clitheroe, then for 10 years was vicar of Trawden until he left to become head of religious education at St Christopher’s C of E High School, Accrington.

He returned to parish work and since retiring from St Anne’s has deputised at numerous Ribble Valley churches.

He still takes services at both Whalley Parish Church and Whalley Abbey.