Elizaphanian is written by the Reverend Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea with East Mersea, Peldon, Great and Little Wigborough.
Sam was born in the summer of 1970 and lived in Heybridge Basin until the age of 12 – in the local yacht store until he was 6 (which is now this tea room), and then on a houseboat moored next to Salcott Sailing Club. During his teenage years his parents ran a wine bar in Coggeshall (which is now this establishment).
From age 11 Sam boarded at Bishop’s Stortford College, which he loved, and after a gap year spent mainly working in Colchester, with three months in North America (he loves the US), he spent three years studying Philosophy and Theology at Trinity College, Oxford. Sam was one of those odd people who started studying theology as an atheist and was converted by the arguments! From there he joined the Department of the Environment as a ‘Fast Streamer‘, working on nuclear safety, the Single Regeneration Budget, Local Government policy and the setting up of the Environment Agency. A combination of getting fed up driving a desk, and a growing awareness that he was called to ordination led to resigning from the civil service and spending a year working as the caretaker at his church primary school.
In 1997 Sam went to train for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge, in conjunction with pursuing a PhD in Peterhouse – the latter being dropped after two terms. Sam was ordained Deacon at St Paul’s in 1999, and priested in 2000, serving his curacy at St Dunstan’s and All Saints, Stepney until 2002. He also managed to complete an MA at Heythrop during this time.
After taking some time out to recharge his batteries, Sam took up his present post in the summer of 2003, a few miles down river from where he had grown up. As well as his parish responsibilities, Sam is presently a Ministry of Deliverance adviser for the Colchester area. He greatly enjoys teaching the faith, and retains an interest in philosophical theology and the nature of religious language. He self-published his first book, exploring how the church should understand the ecological crisis, in early 2012, and is now working on a Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology, looking at psychiatric diagnosis.