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Revd Iain McLaren

Despite my Scottish name, I have spent most of my life living in the Thames Valley. I was born in 1963 in Windsor, but moved to Wokingham at the age of 4. Though both of my parents were born in England, I had a Scottish grandmother and it was through her influence that I came into the United Reformed Church via the Presbyterian Church of England.

I was educated at St Crispin’s School, Wokingham, and at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, where I studied History and French. After university I trained as an accountant and embarked upon a career in local government finance, working for Hampshire County Council and the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow and Hackney.

Between 2000 and 2002 I took a career break to work with Voluntary Service Overseas in Zambia. It was while in Zambia that I met my wife and acquired two Zambian stepchildren. We did not have long together, however, for at the end of 2003 my wife was killed in a road accident. Overnight I became a widower and single parent. It was a difficult time and I am grateful for the many people who supported me through it. The experience has informed the way in which I seek to minister to the bereaved.

After years of being challenged to test a call to ministry, I undertook theological training at Mansfield College, Oxford, where I gained the dubious distinction of being the last ever URC ordinand to be trained by the college.

In 2010 I was ordained and inducted to serve the Trinity group of Dulwich Grove URC, Camberwell Green URC and the Copleston Centre Church (URC/C of E), a multicultural pastorate in south London. I was inducted to Cheltenham URC in January 2021.

I look forward to building relationships between St Andrew’s, Prestbury and the Church in Warden Hill and the wider community in Cheltenham. I particularly value the opportunities for ecumenical working afforded by our links with the Church of England via the Church at Warden Hill. It is by working together that we give witness to the unity of all God’s people.

Iain McLaren


Iain McLaren
Revd Iain McLaren
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