Rev. Martin Baldock 2000-2017
The son of a pharmacist, Martin was brought up in Dunstable, where he was a chorister at the Priory Church. He studied pharmacy at Nottingham University (where he met his wife Sue), and after working as a pharmacist in the Nottingham area for 18 months, they moved to Zambia where Martin worked as an administrator and pharmacist for three years. It was at a church in Zambia that Martin felt it was “the first place he ever heard of a Jesus who was part of everyday life”.
Initially returning to work as a pharmacist in England, Martin went on to study theology at St John’s, Nottingham. He was ordained at Wells Cathedral in July 1985 and began his curacy at Nailsea near Bristol. He became vicar of Brampton in 1989. It was an ex-mining village and virtually all working class. It had been at the centre of the Miners’ strike in 1984-5 and the social effects of that were still very much in evidence. Martin said it was like moving into “a defeated country after war”. There was great bitterness after the pit closure and broken promises. This was a parish in need of hope after having been let down so much before.
In 2000, Martin was appointed as new vicar of St Edward’s. He combined his parish work with chaplaincy, mainly at the Hospice but also at York College until September 2005. He was appointed Rural Dean of York, a post he held from 2004 to 2012.
In 2003, the decision was taken open the church on a regular basis, in order to be available as a place of prayer and welcome. A continued emphasis on work with children and young people led to the appointment of a full-time youth worker in 2007. Increasing need for clerical support led to the appointment of a full-time Parish Secretary.
By 2011, it was apparent that major work could no longer be delayed on the community hall, originally built in 1905. The design brief for the project aimed “to produce a flexible, functional and welcoming space for use by the whole church congregation and community organisations in the Dringhouses area, enabling both the scout hall and community hall to operate independently” and “provide modern facilities for our hirers”.
It was a grand project achieved through gifts, grants, fund-raising and prayer. The keys were handed over at the end of January 2016. The project endeavoured to be as “green” as possible. The new café and meeting room had recycled rubble beneath the concrete to create a firm foundation. The thick layer of insulation in the Community Hall, with its under-floor heating, is another aspect of its green credentials. There is also easy wheelchair access. The refurbished halls and new facilities were dedicated by the Archbishop of York on 17th May 2016 at the end of his Diocesan pilgrimage.
In June 2017, Martin was installed as an honorary Canon of York Minster in recognition of his ministry. Following 17 years of service to the parish and community, Martin decided it was time to retire. He said that “over the course of its history, St Edward’s has thrived because of the willing participation of innumerable people in its life and service to the wider community.” The church bid a fond farewell to Martin and Sue as they retired to Newark.