Local Face: Matthew Routledge

Matthew is a Buckinghamshire boy having been born in High Wycombe and lived in Seer Green. After school, Matthew initially worked for a Merchant Bank but then persuaded his father to let him follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps of working in property, qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor in 1992.

Matthew has a great passion for reading, especially history. He also enjoys supporting Wasps though this is not so easy since their move to Coventry. His interest in photography started when he was given a Box Brownie. He was 8 and a photographer friend taught him to develop black & white pictures. He has now moved over to digital photography and loves the flexibility this gives. His pursuit of family genealogy has taken him to the 1500s on his wife’s side and lead miners in Allendale in Northumberland on his own.

His main career started looking after property for British Waterways and he then moved into management positions with his patch including the Wendover Arm. To be nearer to work Matthew and family moved here in 2002. He had met Andrea at school when they were 16 and they have now been married for 32 years.

When Hannah was born she was baptised and the family Christian commitment strengthened. When they arrived in Wendover within only two days they had joined the congregation at St Mary’s. Matthew became involved in Home Groups and Junior Church and taking groups to Spring Harvest and Youth Camps. He then started leading services and preaching. Matthew also has a son, Jonathan, and both children went through local schools. Hannah is now a nursery teacher in Brighton. Jonathan has lived in Oregon with his American wife for the past 2 years.
Before he arrived in Wendover, Matthew had been asked if he thought he had a vocation but he dismissed the idea. By 2006 Matthew had become a visiting lecturer (6 weeks a year) at Warwick University which is where he had done his Masters in Engineering Management. In 2007 he had moved on to CBRE which was “named a World’s Most Ethical Company” for the seventh year in a row in 2020. This led to a lot of international work, especially in the tech sector, finding offices for companies such as Google in the UK and across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia. The work was very interesting but not fully satisfying. There had to be more to it than just making money.

In a general conversation with Rev Peter Louis about 3½ years ago, the subject of vocation came up again. Matthew was in St Mary’s one Sunday morning, praying about the idea of vocation, when Paul Moring stood up to speak about that very topic. Matthew paid full attention. He hadn’t even realised that it was vocations Sunday. It was time to explore this idea more formally so he spoke to Vicar Sally Moring who referred him to the Deanery Vocations Advisor, Rev David Wales in nearby Weston Turville. The rigorous process had begun. Matthew had a series of meetings with Caroline, Diocesan Director of Ordinands, to explore his vocation. He also had to write essays and visit different churches to widen his experience of the Church of England.

In 2018 he left CBRE and in February 2019 was appointed chaplain (2 days a week) to the MHA Care Home in Aylesbury whose ethos is caring for the spiritual needs of their residents as well as mind and body. Nominally Methodist, the residents include a range of people of different ages including young people with debilitating illness or life-changing accident and a range of faiths including none, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish. In June 2019 Matthew attended a 3-day Session in Ely organised by the Bishops’ Advisors’ Panel (BAP). This was a group of people exploring if vocation really was the right way forward. Matthew found it a very positive experience and he was recommended for training at Ripon College near Oxford which involves weekly evening classes, weekends and an Easter School to support distance learning, a BA qualifiation and ordination as Deacon in Summer 2022 in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Matthew will then start his curacy for another period of at least 3 years to ensure a breadth of experience during which he expects to be ordained priest (2023). He should be deployable in his own right by summer 2025. If practical, he will stay living in Wendover, otherwise we will have to wish him well in a new place.