Rosemary Lain-Priestley was born and brought up in Lancashire – though precariously close to the Yorkshire border. From an early age she was passionate about words and communication, social justice and the belief that God’s presence permeates every aspect of our lives and the world.
After studying English Literature and Theology at the University of Kent, Rosemary worked as an immigration adviser, dealing with visa appeals and refugee applications. She then trained for ordination on a regional course in the north-west before spending a year working at a retreat centre in Zululand, South Africa.
Ordained in her late twenties, Rosemary was nurtured through her curacy by a busy suburban parish in Lancaster. In 1998 she became Assistant Priest and later Associate Vicar at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square, where she learnt much about the depth and wideness of God’s hospitality. During her seven years at St Martin’s she and Antony married and their two daughters, Hannah and Olivia, were born.
Then for almost a decade Rosemary juggled a portfolio ministry, combining the part-time role of Dean of Women in the Two Cities with being a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ and various worship programmes. She wrote three books on spirituality, started a blog, contributed to The Inclusive Church Resource on Gender and has written BRF Bible notes and occasional articles for the Church Times.
Rosemary was also Chair of Governors of a South London secondary school where the girls were a continual inspiration. She gained insights into publishing whilst a Trustee of SPCK and enjoyed her involvement with the Sandford St Martin’s Trust, which promotes the quality and profile of religious broadcasting. During this time Joseph was added to the Lain family.
On being appointed as Archdeacon for the Two Cities in January 2016, Rosemary said:
“I love central London and feel deeply privileged to be serving alongside the many gifted and imaginative clergy and lay people in the parishes and chaplaincies here. It also feels significant to be modelling a part-time senior role, and together with Luke demonstrating that people of differing theological convictions can further God’s mission together”.
Alongside her Two Cities role, Rosemary’s diocesan responsibilities include the oversight of safeguarding, gender issues and spirituality.
Rosemary enjoys poetry and novels, the theatre, cinema, art when there’s time, and coffee. She is addicted to television dramas involving crime, counter-terrorism and forensic psychology. She is a very bad but enthusiastic ice-skater and roller-blader, and is determined, one day, to revive her teenage love of horse-riding.