The real meaning of Easter, and how to make a vicar’s dog collar from a Bounty bar

Revd Dr Colin Heber-Percy joins James Fisher on the podcast to talk about life in the church — how he came to the profession in later life, what it was like being a priest in the pandemic, and his life as a writer and reverend.

There comes a time in many a man’s life when he decides to stop eating endless amounts of chocolate in the month of April and find out just what, exactly, Easter is supposed to be about. For most people, this occurs in their teenage years. For me, a 31-year-old man, it was last week, when I spoke to Revd Dr Colin Heber-Percy.

Colin (he said I was allowed to call him Colin) grew up in London, before moving to the countryside as a child, where he went a bit feral, as we all do at that age. After that followed a successful career in screenwriting, before he decided, in his 40s, to take the cloth and become a vicar.

Listen to Colin Heber-Percy’s interview on the Country Life podcast page at Acast

A christian from a young age, he tells me that his foray into the world of the clergy was not a career change, but rather a way of tying together all the threads of his life. Religion and ‘The Big Questions’ had long permeated his life and his work and, by becoming a vicar, he could truly focus on all of them.

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During the pandemic, Colin was called to action to look after his parish in Savernake in Wiltshire. He began a newsletter in Spring 2020 that rapidly went, for want of a better term, viral. Its success led to a book, Tales of a Country Parish, in which he reflects on the pandemic, his faith, Christianity, and how to make a dog collar out of a Bounty bar.

He has written the Easter Leader for the magazine, in which he somewhat controversially describes himself as an agnostic, which for a vicar, is quite the claim. However, his answer is intriguing — how can you have faith if you claim to know everything? Is not knowing what Easter is really about? Did Mary know who she was talking to outside the tomb?

Other topics of discussion centred around what Colin would do if I made him Archbishop of Canterbury for a day, what is medieval metaphysics and what the role of the church is in an ever-changing rural landscape.

Episode credits

  • Host: James Fisher
  • Guest: Revd Dr Colin Heber-Percy
  • Producer and Editor: Toby Keel
  • Music: JuliusH via Pixabay
  • Special thanks: Adam Wilbourn