- 272 Dyke Road
- East Sussex
- BN1 5AE
The Church of the Good Shepherd has a long-established, moderate Catholic tradition. We are a friendly and welcoming church that meets the worship and spiritual needs of people from a wide range of traditions. We welcome visitors and encourage newcomers to become involved in whatever they feel comfortable with.
To bring more people to experience God’s love by making our church the much needed focus in the local community.
Father Felix Mascarenhas - Vicar
My full name is Father Felix Pedro Antonio Mascarenhas.
I was born in 1955 and brought up in Goa, India. Back then, Goa was a Portuguese colony. I am an Italian citizen and have been in the UK since 2002. I spent my first 28 years in Goa, where I was ordained a Roman Catholic priest and was a member of a missionary order.
In 1984, I attended the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, with a scholarship for four years. Rome was my first experience of Europe. The climate, wine, cheese and pasta had a profound effect on me, so much so, that after four months, none of my clothes fitted me. Fortunately, my Rector found a benefactor to replace my wardrobe.
Whilst at university, I travelled to New York every summer to help out in parishes providing Services in English and Italian.
In 1988, I obtained a Doctorate in Canon Law and returned to India, only to return to Italy immediately and take over the two parishes of Aprilia, about 20 miles south of Rome. I remained there for 13 years and it was there, that I was re-born.
As a parish priest, I felt more and more uncomfortable in myself, with certain theological, moral and ethical expressions of Roman Catholicism. I underwent an extended period of introspection, re-imagining what sort of priest I wanted to be and where God wanted me to be.
It was clear that I had been searching for years. The U.S. did not attract me, neither did Germany, where I had travelled frequently on holiday. Perhaps this was due to the language. However, images of the English countryside and the descriptions of glorious summer days from long ago in India still lingered in my mind. The Anglican theology with its open-minded and welcoming characteristics appealed me a great deal and, after serious reflection, I decided to cross the river.
In 2002, a month after the inauguration of a new church in Aprilia, I moved to the UK. After a few months at Cuddesdon, near Oxford I moved to St. Peter's Westhampnett, near Chichester. I married Susan through a priest friend from Kolkata that I had met at university in Rome. Ours was an arranged marriage of course, as most Indians do!
Since May 2006, we have been here in Brighton and Hove, serving the wonderful community at the Good Shepherd. I love the church here as it has all the best elements a parish could offer - a theology of God's mercy, open and welcoming to all and a congregation always willing to grow in God's grace and work in his mission for the neighbourhood.
Helen Rawlings - Deacon
I live in Ovingdean with my husband Geoff. I am a self-supporting minister working one day a week for the Fishermen’s Mission and the rest of the time as an artist illustrator. I spent 20 years in the police retiring in 2009, which taught me many skills I am able to bring to my ministry.
I come from a Christian family and have very early memories of Sunday school but for most of my adult years only an ‘occasional’ churchgoer. My calling came relatively late. It was my art and a Christmas Card competition that first drew me to St. Wulfran’s, my local church, and it was my art, painting the ‘Stations of the Cross’ that I would describe as my ‘Damascus Road’ moment. But that was only the beginning; it took a couple of years and a number of affirmations from others before I realised God might be calling me to ordination. Three of these stand out for me: On my first Bishops Certificate course ‘Ears to Hear’ (on vocation and calling) it first occurred to me that God had a hand in the direction my life had taken so far, especially in my police career; I was describing this to a reader friend who said ”it sounds like you’re being shouted at”.
My church, St Wulfran’s, was looking for someone to take over as churchwarden from Sandra Hall, who was starting her training for ordination. I turned and asked a friend, Teresa, if the job was very time consuming and she said “yes but you need to know how the church is run if you are taking the same path as Sandra.” This was before I had spoken to anyone about my feelings or even seriously thought about my calling.
Perhaps the most emphatic was at the conclusion of my following Jesus course when we were discussing where we all went from there, the leader, Sharon Searle, told me simply “you must be ordained”.
Having finally acknowledged my calling and with my retirement coming up I started making plans about my future training. Of course, as we all know, that the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans and I soon found obstacles put in the way of mine. God had his own ideas and this would all happen in his time.
I spent 2 years studying part time at SEITE for a BA in theology for ministry. One of the big advantages studying this way is the great opportunity to train alongside many different traditions of churchmanship. One highlight was spending my Pastoral placement with the Fishermen’s Mission with whom I now work as a ‘port officer’.
I feared it would be a wrench leaving ‘my’ St Wulfran’s, but we are well prepared for the move during our training and the welcome I have received from everyone at the Good Shepherd has been so warm that I know I am in the right place.
My ordination is a momentous stage in a continuing journey, which has been and continues to be both wonderful and very challenging at times. But then God never said it would be easy.
Michael Miller - Reader
I have been a member of the Good Shepherd since the age of 11 (a few years ago!) and first came with my parents when they lived nearby in Westdene and were attracted to the church as they’d been married by the then Vicar, Cecil Chisholm. I have been a server, PCC member, Deanery Synod Representative, Churchwarden and was one of the founding members of the ‘Church of the Good Shepherd Playgroup’!
I am an accountant by profession but have for many years felt a sense of calling to ministry. This came to fruition in 2002 when the Vicar, Jonathan Greener announced one day over breakfast in the Vicarage that he was going on holiday and had therefore put me down to preach! I then spent some time exploring my vocation and was in due course selected for Reader training and licenced in Chichester Cathedral in September 2005.
Since then, as well as assisting with ministry in all sorts of ways at the Good Shepherd, I have completed funeral ministry training, taught for the Diocese on Following Jesus, Living Faith and other adult education courses, am a regular Chaplain at the Cathedral and act as a Selector for new Readers.
I have served under seven Vicars, all of whom have made different positive contributions to the life of the parish, and I look forward to working alongside Fr Felix and Deacon Helen over the year ahead. Our particular focus at the moment is to think about how we can further develop our ‘Time for God’ ministry for families and young people.
For information on the Diocese of Chichester, spiritual growth, diocesan strategy, parish life, governing bodies, pastoral care and counselling, please click on the following link:
Link: Diocese of Chichester