My father, Revd Frank Hamer, was busy running Rushen parish and its four churches when I was born. After my baptism in Bishopscourt chapel by Bishop John Taylor, dad became vicar of Laxey. With two brothers to keep in order we moved to Tipton in the industrial Midlands before returning to St Ninian’s, Douglas. My first work experiences were for two summer holidays at Clucas’s Laundry, Tromode – 12hrs a day and a Saturday morning ! On leaving DHSB I joined the IoM Electricity Board as a Student Engineer and enjoyed all things electrical, including overnight line maintenance and shifts on control at Peel power station. Apart from the technical aspects I learnt to value people – they are all different but together can achieve much more.
After four years I moved off the Island to Norfolk where dad was running a parish. I was initially employed as a secondary school teacher, before returning to the Electricity Supply Industry. From there I moved to St Albans and rediscovered Church – and Jeanette ! Dad married us and Churchlife was involvement in young people’s work with annual camps driving one of the minibuses across the UK. Soon Churchlife and working life also had the addition of family life after Jonathan was born.
Work took me to West London – based in Uxbridge, Ealing and Slough before ending up at Head Office near Marlow, Bucks – our home for the next 18yrs. Rebecca and Samuel were born there. Jeanette was Headteacher at a primary school and both of us were heavily involved in a very active large and lively church in High Wycombe. Jeanette ran the art workshop decorating the church with banners, etc and was involved with music and ministry. I managed the site facilities – maintenance, utilities, audio-visual team, etc. In both St Albans and Marlow we learnt that family life and Christian life can be a roller coaster ride. We saw two church buildings completed when the Church prayed and its members gave sacrificially and stepped forward in faith.
I returned to the Island in 2002 when Jeanette became Headteacher of Michael school. There is rarely a good time to move - with our two eldest at Oxford and Southampton universities. We asked three close Christian friends to pray that it was the right move and the answers were that we were to move forward and place our trust in God. That we did.
We settled into Michael Parish Church, with very traditional Anglican worship after our lively Church in the UK. Having been sworn in as a Churchwarden, we both set out on a Readers course. After three years of training, in 2007 I was licenced as a Reader and able to preach, assist at communion and take funerals. But in the meantime, within a few years here we wondered ‘what if’ we’d stayed in the Thames Valley, as Jeanette was prescribed statins that within a fortnight had left her almost immobile – it had triggered ME/CFS. Having to giving up teaching was a very painful decision and we wondered what the future would hold. Our youngest, Samuel, was in Preston completing a computing degree. As Jeanette regained energy she was encouraged to explore ministry by Bishop Graeme. It was a long road but she was ordained and priested while a curate with the Archdeacon at St George’s, Douglas. I served on Michael Commissioners for 12 years.
Our three ‘children’ have all grown up, married and are scattered across the globe – New Zealand, Portsmouth and one in Douglas. We have precious family time by the Internet and our Churchlife fills most days. Locally, along with Jeanette, we act as the Parish Office and am also the Secretary / Treasurer of Michael Burial Authority. At Diocesan level I represent the laity of the island as Lay Chair of Synod, plus numerous other boards and committees. Not wishing to be remembered as a doddery old fool, I shall shortly be handing over the reins to others. They say a Christian never retires, but they can go on too long !