CAPTION: Gina Radford was Deputy Chief Medical Officer until 2019

Prince William features in national online service led by Devon Vicar

Posted: 22nd May, 2020

A Devon Vicar is leading this Sunday’s Church of England national online service, marking the end of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Reverend Professor Gina Radford was Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England until 2019.

She is now the Vicar of South Brent and Rattery and has been advising the Church of England on its Covid-19 guidance for churches.

The service also features a contribution from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, in which he urges people who are concerned about their mental health or that of others to reach out and start a conversation.

The Duke of Cambridge is one of the contributors to the service about mental health

Gina filmed her parts of the service in St Petroc’s Church in South Brent, accompanied by her “slow, clumsy, gentle” dog Buddy.

People struggling with mental health and well-being

She said that Mental Health Awareness Week had a ‘particular significance’ this year as more people struggle with mental health and well-being.

“For some people of faith this is particularly challenging,” she said,  “Surely, we might ask, my faith should get me through?

“But we need to face the reality that we are human – we are body, mind and spirit. We are all susceptible to mental ill health, just as we are to physical ill health.”

Gina said she never expected her previous role in public health to prove so vital when she moved to Devon to be a parish priest:

One calling and two careers

“When I left the Department of Health I honestly thought that chapter of my life was ended.

“But God moves in mysterious ways, and I can’t but help thinking he had a plan!

“I’m very sorry about the circumstances, but it is good to be able to use the knowledge and experience of one role  to help in this new one.

Gina was previously a surgeon before moving into public health and ordained ministry.

“In some way I have had one calling and two careers.

“I have always felt called to “serve” if that doesn’t sound too pompous.

“In my first career it was in looking after people’s physical and mental health needs, in this career it is about their spiritual needs.

“And to be able to link them together so explicitly as I am dong now, is something of a privilege- serving the whole person.”

Service available on Facebook and Youtube

Previous national online services have been led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York and the Reverend Kate Bottley, one of the co-presenters of the BBC Radio 2 Faith programme.

The service will be available from 9am on Sunday on the Church of England Facebook Page and Youtube Channel.