I am the vicar of Mixenden and Illingworth in North Halifax. I am a guitarist and musician and with my wife Ruth we write music and songs together. Our main passion is Rock Music and we play in a couple of bands. Silverthorn play in the pubs, clubs and bike rallies and Metanoia play mainly in churches.

For many years we have been involved with Alt:Worship.  Rock Mass is currently our main focus at Holy Nativity where I am vicar. At Rock Mass we use musical settings that we have written and arranged for Metanoia at the Eucharist. With Metanoia, we have led services in Minsters, Cathedrals and festivals such as Greenbelt. I am part of the leadership at Sanctum, organise the worship for On Fire, and a member of the Liturgical Commission.

Here you will find our music, ideas for Alt:Worship, bits of theology and occasional humour.

The views represented in my blog do not represent the official views of the Church of England. This is not the last word on any topic, it is a word on it. Previously, I published under the name changingworship, which still lives on as the username for some of my social media.

24 thoughts on “About

  • antonia rolls

    Hello, thank you for being so nice about Jesus on the Tube. It is on exhibition in Germany at the moment, it is off on its travels doing its own thing.

    Best wishes, Antonia Rolls

  • Robb

    Not a problem. It is one of the more inspiring images of Jesus I have ever seen! I love your work. I first saw it in a pack of RE resources and it really speaks volume about the history of our faith and the modern situation we live in. Thank you.

  • Robb

    Thanks, always good to meet someone who is interested in the emerging church.

  • si

    hi robb,

    i curated the leftbank advent show – won’t be there on sunday as we’re away down south, but if you want to know anything about it, email me…


  • Robb

    Hi Si,

    Thanks for dropping by. If it is OK with you I will drop you an email.


  • Paul Deo

    Hey, Robb!

    Dunno how, but just happened upon you! I’m a ‘Mission Priest’ in a parish in Bradford diocese. We have a history of ‘old, liturgical, traditional’ stuff going on and as a result the average age of people in our three churches was 73 when I first arrived three years ago! might be different now – a good number of them have ‘gone to glory’ and not been ‘replaced’!

    Since then, we’ve tried to build things up alongside – no real chance of ‘saving’ things that have grown old in an inflexible, traditional manner!

    I have a slight issue with the tag ’emerging church’, because I tend to think that ‘church’ is a station along the line for a ‘community’ that is emerging. Here, we’ve started a very easy chance to ‘belong’ on a sunday morning. I’m really reluctant to term it a ‘Fresh Expression’, as most of the people who come along very probably don’t think it’s anything like what ‘church’ looks like, and I’m glad for that!

    So, one Sunday a month, anything up to 70 people (of all ages) who typically would not usually be sitting in any one of our buildings, come along to the ‘Light Bite’, where we serve tea, coffee, toast, croissants, etc, and have the Sunday papers available. We put on a couple of practical activities that kids and parents can get involved with, and more often than not I offer a little ‘food for thought’ with a faith base.

    I’ll happily chat it through if you like, but would be pleased for you to add the ‘Light Bite’ at St. James’ Baildon to your list!



  • Paul Deo

    I know how I stumbled on you! I know Dave Male well; we used to lead each others’ church’s weekends away before he moved to Cambridge.

    I was looking to see how they were getting on since their last vicar left for Sheffield, but can’t get any up to date info on them. Your pages here appeared when I did a google search for the Net!



  • Robb

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your input. I think it is well documented that none of the terms work satisfactorily. They all have baggage of one sort or another. However, we need to have the language to talk with each other without having to have a three hour monologue about what you mean by the terms.

    Emerging church is probably my favourite but the longer we travel this road, the more the UK and US emerging church gulf seems to strike me.

    I used to think that FE was just a rebranding of EC. However, as we have travelled the road it seems to make more sense in a UK context.

    So where to go from there? No idea =D

    The ‘Light Bite’ sounds great. Do you have a website? Would you be happy for an interloper to come along and have a nosey?

    Baildon is near Shipley isn’t it?

  • Paul Deo


    All you say is quite right. We do need some ‘common’ language so we know what we’re on about.

    Where we go? Well, I guess each of us is ‘called’ to wherever we are to do a particular job – we just get on with it the best we can!

    The ‘Light Bite’ is on on the fourth Sunday of each month, 10.30 start, and you (or anyone else) would be most welcome to pop in anytime. Baildon is, officially, part of Shipley, but it’s that big (pop. 17,000) that it tries its best to be its own town! We’ve more anglican churches in Baildon than we have in Shipley!!

    Website – I’ve been trying ever since I came to get that sorted out. Left it with the incumbent, so not holding my breath!!

  • Alexey Kovalev

    Hello Rob!

    My name is Alexey Kovalev, I’m a journalist from Russia. I’m working on a feature article about interfaith dialogue. That involves interviewing priests of different religions on a number of ethical issues. Would you be interested to take part in the project? If yes, I’m going to need approx. 30 minutes of your time. What do you think? My email is kovalever@gmail.com.

    thanks and best regards,

  • wonderandawilddesire

    Hi Robb

    Admittedly, I am a total stranger, and someone that’s doing a lot of searching (well, Google led me here). I’m a 22 year old girl (woman makes me sound far too old) who’s thinking of going forward for ordination as a priest in the Church of England (I’m currently living in the Exeter Diocese). The only issue is that I’m not exactly run-of-the-mill. I’ve got tattoos, my hair colour changes every other month, I’m stretching my ear, thinking about getting my lip repierced, I play roller derby…in other words, I have this sense of calling, but at the same time I really don’t think that I’m what the church is looking for or what they’d want – maybe they’d think I’m a bad influence or too much of a rebel or whatever.

    All in all, I was wondering (only if you had the time – no pressure) if you had any advice or if you could share your experiences in going through the training process? Any help you could give would be really appreciated.


    Lyn Haskell


  • Robb

    Hi Lyn,

    My experience of being an early twenties metal head who offered for priesthood was good. There are some for whom it still does not compute but I suspect that everyone experiences that at some point. Most people see that this is what God made me for.

    My experiences are slightly different to most as I was an RE teacher when I went through the discernment process. If I was to offer advice, I’d say be open to asking other people about their experiences. You don’t say what your church background is but if I was you I’d start finding out about, understanding and empathising with “the other guys” (whoever they may be). If you are an evangelical find some catholics to talk to. If you are a catholic, find some evangelicals to talk to.

    I found myself with a spiritual director as I went through the discernment process who describes his experience of going to college as this:

    “I got on a train with another guy who was going to the same college. I went thinking I was going to become a vicar and discovered I needed to become a priest. He thought he was going to become a priest and that meant that he was going to have to become a vicar”.

    Find out who you are and what you are called to be – be that lay, or ordained. Go and be that which God has called you to. Remember that it is you that is called. If God was looking for someone less colourful she’d call someone less colourful. That is his perogative!

    And may God richly bless you and all of the people around you as you discern this calling to ministry.


  • Phil Groom

    Wow: echoing what Robb says there: wise advice. Be who you are, Lyn … and if things work out the way that I hope they do, the C of E is in for a breath of fresh air: it could certainly do with it!

    Me, I’m one of the ‘rejects’ (if that’s the right word) but it all worked out right in the end as my other half, who thought she was going to end up as a vicar’s wife, is now ordained and I’m the vicar’s husband. God has a wonderful way of flipping things around to get people where s/he wants them 🙂

    Oh, and some random thoughts on the ‘discernment process’, for what they’re worth… Feeling the Call

    (hope you and Robb will forgive me dropping in on the conversation)

  • Robb

    Not at all. Come in and grab a pew 😉

  • Dot

    just been reading the comments – and wanted to add that I am a woman in my early 50’s, with tattoos, piercings and change my hair colour and style every 6-8 weeks. I was accepted not because of those things, most people didn’t know about the tattoos… but because my call was from God and the panel recognised it as such.

    It took me 20 years to actually get there, but I believe it is the right time as do most of the people who know me! Any earlier and I might well have been tooooooo fundamental and conservative for anyone!

    Now? changed/transformed – but have an empathy with those who are and want to encourage them to find a God who believes in them, not the God that they believe in necessarily. (If that makes any sense!!)

  • Robb

    Hi Dot,

    That last comment makes a lot of sense!

    I agree with you. I was not accepted because of or inspite of being a metal head. I do sometimes have to deal with people’s prejudice though.

  • Dot

    Dealing with other people’s prejudice is hard I agree, but as I have to keep saying to myself, that is there problem to deal with and not mine!! : )

    God is a God of diversity not conformity – thank goodness!!

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  • Rosemary Wright

    didn’t intend to do it publically but…. we at CICS are soooooooooooo thrilled you’re coming to Illingworth (with Trinity Academy) and had a great time of Thanking God. Bless you, Robb
    and Ruth,
    Rosemary (Andy’s Mum)

    • Robb

      Hi Rosemary,

      Long time no see! I can’t wait to join everyone over in Calderdale. I remember those early meetings of CICS and the vision people had for transforming the lives of young people in the area. I look forward to getting reaquainted with everyone again.



  • David Fawcett

    Hi Robb,
    Hope your well!
    When things settle down for you a bit after the move,
    I believe that your the new vicar of Mixenden church, can we meet for a coffee or a beer please…. I live about 10 minutes away in Pellon.
    I am trying to start an Eden Community in Mixenden…
    and God has put Mixenden on my heart…

    God bless
    mob – 077144 58780

  • John Middleton

    Looking at my Twitter-feed and you spring-up! There can only be one “Robb” so it must be you!
    Hope all’s well. From an RE Teacher to a priest; am surprised from my memories of you but chuffed for you! I’m sure your parish will flourish.
    Still teaching; bump into Claire occasionally.
    All the best!

  • Robb

    Hi John, long time no see! What are you up to at the moment? What’s your twitter?

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