Andrew is minister at Harrow Baptist Church in NW London. He was born and raised in Belfast but left Northern Ireland in 1993 and went to St Andrews University where he earned an MA in Economics. During that time, to satisfy the requirements of the university, he also completed a number of modules in Biblical Studies. He was asked if he would consider switching to Biblical Studies for his final degree but responded by telling them he could not see what possible use theology would be to him in later life!
Andrew’s working career has been widely varied. His strangest job was to guard Belfast city centre’s Christmas Tree. No-one nicked it on his watch! He spent a year as the Vice-President of the Student Union at St Andrews, a few months in a call centre for British Gas, then a number of years in research and lecturing in Business Studies first at Nottingham Trent University, then at Birmingham and Aston Universities. At one stage he found himself teaching Sociology students, despite having failed their subject at A Level!
Whilst living in Birmingham he was introduced to Julie on a blind date to a Robbie Williams concert. Not long afterwards he somehow convinced her that marrying him was a good idea. They were married in Alvechurch Baptist Church, just outside Birmingham, in 2003. Soon after, Andrew started working for Birmingham City Council as a statistician, reporting on their performance on homelessness issues (it sounds more worthy than it was). He also began to investigate the call to Baptist ministry. He trained at Regents Park College, Oxford, between 2005 and 2008 whilst working as minister-in-training at Radford Semele Baptist Church, near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Following his ordination he was pastor at Hope Baptist Church, in Highbridge, Somerset, where he ministered until November 2013. He also served as a trustee of his local Citizens’ Advice Bureau and a Foodbank.
Whilst not working, Andrew is an novice in the garden, enjoys cooking (and doesn’t poison himself) and, inspired by Mo Farah, has recently run a couple of half-marathons. He likes a wide range of music. He’s not bad, but very rusty, at table tennis. He supports Arsenal and Ulster Rugby. He’s a big crime fiction fan particularly Lewis and Endeavour and the foreign stuff we get on Saturday evening BBC4. He loves Ian Rankin and Colin Bateman novels.
This blog contains the texts of sermons Andrew preaches at Harrow Baptist. It is just the uncorrected scripts he uses on Sundays and so will probably have more than a few typos. The name of the blog Paper Dolls is a reference to a song from the eponymous first album by The Innocence Mission.