THURSDAY 9 October had already been a busy day for the Vicar of
St John the Baptist, Sevenoaks, in Rochester diocese, the Revd
Robin Jones SSC, and his wife, Marina.
The church hall had been full of activity: first with Fr Jones's
parish foodbank, and then with a meeting of Messy Church - in which
30 young children and their parents, many of whom do not come to
church at other times - had engaged in worship activities. It was
while Fr and Mrs Jones were clearing up afterwards that Mrs Jones,
who was expecting their second child, realised that she was going
into labour a week earlier than expected.
An ambulance was sent for, and dispatched, but the baby was
clearly in no mood for waiting. "I called 999, and they talked me
through the process," Fr Jones said.
Shortly afterwards, and surrounded by tins of tomatoes,
vegetables, and rice pudding - intended for the foodbank - he
delivered his baby daughter in the back room of the church
Good wishes have poured in for the family. On Wednesday, the
Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, said that Fr
Jones's mastery of the situation demonstrated the quality of the
clergy in his diocese. "Fr Robin was able to rise to the occasion,"
he said. "I am delighted. . . It is always encouraging to know that
one's clergy are versatile and able to meet any eventuality."
Fr Jones has been Vicar of St John's since 2012. He was prepared
for Holy Orders at St Stephen's House, Oxford, where the present
Principal, Canon Robin Ward, is a former Vicar of his parish. "My
predecessor as Principal put great stress on the importance of
clergy being able to deliver babies," Dr Ward said, "but I didn't
expect this to be demonstrated so dramatically in my old
Fr and Mrs Jones have named their daughter Beatrice. At her
birth she weighed 7lb 11oz, and mother and baby are both doing